What are you looking for?


Turkey aims for low COVID-19 risk in all provinces

Turkey aims for low COVID-19 risk in all provinces

In the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 map, more provinces are being added to the ‘blue’ category, which represents low risk, as Turkey may reach a vaccination rate of 70 percent for all 81 provinces by late September.
With the COVID-19 pandemic prevailing and claiming more lives day by day, Turkey may have a few more weeks to mitigate the impact of the disease, the Sabah newspaper reported on Tuesday. The ongoing vaccination program is the best weapon in the country’s arsenal against the pandemic, which has claimed more than 52,000 lives. The program divides the country into four color codes based on COVID-19 risk, with blue assigned to low-risk provinces. As the number of people with both doses of the vaccine now exceeds 36 million, more among the 81 provinces are expected to be downgraded in terms of risk.

Nineteen more provinces are closes to reaching the goal of a vaccination rate above 70% within the next two weeks, and their color code on the Health Ministry’s risk map is set to turn to “blue” from “yellow,” or medium risk. Thus, the number of provinces in the blue category will reach 65. Four provinces in the “orange,” or high-risk category – Bingöl, Bayburt, Muş and Batman – are close to the 65% vaccination rate goal. Overall, only five provinces – Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Bitlis and Gümüşhane – will remain in the high-risk category. Şanlıurfa was the only province in the “red,” or very high-risk category, up until last week.

Professor Deniz Odabaş, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, says they managed to complete the first chapter in the vaccination program (with a first-dose vaccination rate exceeding 77%) but emphasized that one dose of vaccine was not enough to protect the public. “We will have a high rate of protection only when 70% of the population receives both doses of vaccine,” Odabaş told the Sabah newspaper. Currently, this rate is at around 59%.

“People should not postpone their second doses. Those who live in provinces with vaccination rates at above 75% should not drop their guard and neglect vaccines, thinking they would not be affected since others are vaccinated,” she warned.
Odabaş said Turkey ranked fifth in the world in vaccination rate among countries that have not produced their own vaccines yet. “Countries like Australia and New Zealand had problems in access to vaccines, but Turkey overcame this challenge. We managed to tackle the first chapter and now we must focus on the second one,” she added.

The delta variant accounts for some 90% of cases in Turkey, and the majority of those are among the unvaccinated, according to figures supplied by hospitals. Professor Ismail Balık, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, says the hospitalization rate among people with two doses of vaccine but infected anyway “dropped by 93%.”

“It prevents deaths almost 100%,” he told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Tuesday. “No vaccine available in the world now is designed to totally prevent a virus. They are designed to prevent fatalities from the virus and severe cases. Turkey has almost achieved the desired level in one-dose vaccination, but bear in mind that one dose is not very effective against the delta variant. Even if you have two doses, you should proceed with caution still and continue wearing protective masks and adhere to social distancing (in crowded places).”