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Turkey started vaccinating people aged 60 amid COVID-19 pandemic

Turkey started vaccinating people aged 60 amid COVID-19 pandemic

Vaccinations are among the few weapons in Turkey’s arsenal as it continues an uphill battle against the coronavirus outbreak. The country started vaccinating people aged 60 and above as well as their spouses, regardless of age, about two months after the start of the inoculation drive for older citizens and health care workers.

Those with cancer, dialysis patients, people with Down syndrome, patients depending on immunosuppressant drugs and people classified as morbidly obese are also included in the latest round of the vaccination program.

Yet, coronavirus cases do not seem to be dwindling; on the contrary, they have climbed to near 30,000 per day. Media outlets report that no “radical” measures are being considered despite the rate of variants among new cases steadily increasing, especially in big cities. But some media reports point to “full lockdowns” being on the horizon for cities at very high risk of an increase in infections.

Turkey currently uses CoronaVac, an inactive vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, but it will soon start providing Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines to citizens, authorities recently announced. So far, more than 15 million people received their COVID-19 shots, including more than 6.5 million people who have received their second doses since Jan. 14, when health care workers became the first to be inoculated.

Appointments to be vaccinated can only be made online or by calling a hotline. Necati Yavaş, a 63-year-old man who received his first shot at Ankara City Hospital in the capital, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he was glad to be vaccinated. “I did not feel any pain. Indeed, I feel very good. Everyone should get a shot,” he said. Ali Ülger, a 60-year-old man who was vaccinated at the same hospital along with his wife, says he was grateful to the state for having people vaccinated. “I hope we will overcome this catastrophe together. Everyone should be careful and follow the rules. Let us wear our masks and care about our hygiene. This is a disease we can overcome if we act together,” he said.