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30.2 million people received 1st doses of COVID-19 jabs in Turkey

30.2 million people received 1st doses of COVID-19 jabs in Turkey

The number of vaccines administered against the coronavirus reached almost 50 million in Turkey on Thursday as the country crossed a critical threshold. More than 30.2 million people, equivalent to roughly one out of every two adults, have received their first doses.

At the current pace, Turkey may complete its vaccination campaign by the end of summer or even as early as next month. Authorities announced Wednesday that the minimum age of eligibility for vaccination would be dropped to 18 on Friday. This is expected to bring the country closer to the goal of achieving mass immunity. Currently, more than 14.6 million people have been fully vaccinated, slightly lower than the total population of Istanbul, the country’s most populated city.

This month saw an unprecedented rise in vaccinations, with the Health Ministry opening up the campaign to more age groups and people from different occupations regardless of their age. The momentum is linked to the arrival of new shipments of vaccines from abroad. After securing a deal with China’s Sinovac, the country started vaccinating its health care workers first in January 2021, before expanding the inoculation campaign to the oldest citizens. It gradually lowered the vaccination eligibility age, and people at the age of 18 and above are expected to be the last group to be vaccinated. Authorities have not announced any plans yet to vaccinate children. In the meantime, the addition of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which recently arrived in the country, may boost the drive further. Later this year, the first locally made jab, an inactive vaccine like the Chinese-made vaccine in use in the country, will also be available, after completing Phase 3 trials and an emergency approval process.