Vaccine complacency not overcome yet, says expert
Turkey may still have time to prepare for the Omicron strain of COVID-19 by speeding up the jab drive, but vaccine complacency among the population continues to pose risks, Professor Alper Şener from the Heath Ministry's Science Board has said.
"No cases of the Omicron variant have been detected yet in Turkey which means there is time to take precautions. But still there are lots of unvaccinated people that poses challenges," Şener said.
He particularly pointed at vaccine complacency among those who have had two shots of the jab against the coronavirus but skipped the booster shots.
"They are not really anti-vaccine people. Apparently, they have developed some sort of confidence after having seen that the vaccinated people around them, who contracted COVID-19, do not have serious health problems," Şener said, noting that only people who have been given three doses of the jab are considered "fully vaccinated."
The vaccination program needs to gather pace in the face of the threats from the Omicron variant, he added.
Since it rolled out the vaccination drive in January, Turkey has administered more than 121 million doses of the jab. Only around 12.5 million people have been given the third dose of the vaccine.
Some 51 million people have received two doses, while another 56 million people have received only one dose of the vaccine.