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Authorities work to raise vaccination level in least vaccinated Turkish province

Authorities work to raise vaccination level in least vaccinated Turkish province

Southeastern Turkey’s Şanlıurfa remains the province with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the entire country.

Only 55.5% of Şanlıurfa’s residents received two doses of the vaccine with authorities working to turn the tide on vaccination in the province.

Vaccine hesitancy and outright opposition to vaccines are the only causes of low rates, something local authorities are trying to eradicate. The governorate and the local branch of the Health Ministry have mobilized to boost the vaccination rate. Apart from hospitals and neighborhood clinics, vaccines are offered in nine other venues while 44 health care teams visit remote, rural neighborhoods and houses of people refusing vaccines to convince them.

Professor Mehmet Gülüm, head of the Directorate of Health in Şanlıurfa, said all public sector workers and health care staff are sacrificing their time to boost the rate.

Gülüm said a fourth wave of the pandemic began in July, and they have seen a dramatic rise in the number of younger patients, which continues to this day.

“This is the main feature of the new wave, that it affects young people more. (Unlike the previous waves), younger people die of the coronavirus or are admitted to the intensive care unit,” he said.

He added that the rate of unvaccinated among patients was also the same, more or less, since July.

“Based on our experience, we will see another wave either late November or in December. Currently, the pandemic’s burden on our health care is not as high to disrupt services, but this may be the quiet before the storm. The cases usually increase during winter, and provinces with low vaccination rates pay the price. We urge all citizens to complete their vaccination process so they can stave off a new wave,” he said.