Turkey is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination campaign. A large group of people are now eligible for vaccination regardless of their age.
Turkey’s Health Ministry rolled out more categories for vaccine eligibility on Thursday and Friday in its bid to achieve mass immunity for the country.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca fired tweets one after another to the joy of millions on Thursday evening, and his announcements of new groups for vaccination continued into Friday. The first group included in the new “age-free” chapter of the inoculation drive was food sector employees, which includes everyone from the staff of restaurants and cafes to people processing and delivering the food to millions every day. It was followed with hairdressers for men and women, an occupation that became dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic for an environment where people are in close contact for hours. Later, Koca announced lawyers would be able to book vaccine appointments starting on Friday.
On Friday, the vaccination campaign was extended to people in the transportation sector, including the staff of inner-city buses, minibuses, intercity buses and taxi drivers, whose vaccination will start on Saturday. Koca announced on Friday afternoon that people working in delivery services, including motorcycle couriers who deliver everything from food to consumer electronics to millions confined to home during the pandemic, would have their vaccinations starting on Saturday.
The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), meanwhile, announced that exporters holding “green passports” for international trips were also included in “priority” groups for vaccination.
“This is an important decision to improve Turkey’s export volume,” the TIM, an umbrella body for 100,000 exporters exporting to hundreds of countries, hailed the decision. The first job-specific vaccination process was launched for teachers a few months ago, and this week it included musicians, actors and staff of film and TV production crews as well as theater companies.
The country launched its vaccination campaign in January 2021 with health care workers. The oldest citizens were prioritized in the drive, with the age limit for eligibility gradually dropping with the arrival of new batches of doses. Currently, people at the age of 45 and above can book vaccine appointments while the minimum age eligible for vaccination will be lowered to 40 next week. So far, more than 32 million doses of vaccines were administered.