Some 80-90% of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Turkey take place among people who were never vaccinated or got just one jab, said the country’s health minister on Thursday.
Speaking after a meeting of the country’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, Fahrettin Koca stressed the need for people to get fully vaccinated to avoid contracting the virus, being admitted to the hospital, or dying.
Some 81% of the nearly 500,000 active COVID-19 cases in Turkey are among people who were not fully vaccinated, he said.
About 90% of those who are hospitalized for the virus were not fully vaccinated, and 90% of those who died were either unvaccinated or did not get both doses of a two-shot vaccine, Koca explained.
Koca said that most cases currently take place at ages 15-45, and so the number of cases in the country has risen.
As in-person classes resume, he said 88% of teachers and school employees have had at least one vaccine dose, and 75% have had both doses.
Mahmut Ozer, Turkey’s national education minister, who also attended the board meeting, stressed that schools should be the last places to be closed due to the pandemic.
Erol Ozvar, head of the Council of Higher Education, who also attended, said academic activities have continued in Turkey without interruption, whether in person or online, for one-and-a-half years, since the pandemic appeared in Turkey.
Turkey has administered more than 95.56 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since launching a mass immunization campaign in January, according to official figures released Thursday.
Over 48.85 million people have gotten their first vaccine dose, while more than 37.64 million are fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.
Turkey has also given third booster shots to over 8.76 million people.
At least 78.7% of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine.
The ministry also reported 23,496 new coronavirus cases, while as many as 283 more people have died of the disease in the past 24 hours.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 4.54 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 218 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.