Turkey’s over 55’s queue outside hospitals for COVID-19 jab

Turkish citizens above the age of 55 queued outside some of the country’s hospitals after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that they were now eligible to receive a COVID-19 jab as Turkey entered a new phase in its vaccination drive.

“I invite our citizens whose turn has come to get vaccinated. Our vaccination program will continue with determination, depending on supply conditions,” Koca said in a statement on Twitter on Monday.

Queues began forming overnight outside hospitals in the capital Ankara as people waited to receive the vaccine, the Diken news website reported.

On Monday, Turkey registered 55,149 new cases of COVID-19, down from a record high of 63,082 on Friday. It reported a record 341 deaths, bringing the total to 36,267 since the outbreak in March last year.

Koca said Turkey has administered more than 20 million doses of the vaccine. The country has a population of 83.6 million. The Health Ministry says 7.8 million people have received both doses of the jab and 4.5 million have received a first dose.

Turkey’s vaccination drive has been most successful in western and northern provinces, Diken said. At least a third of people in the Black Sea region have been inoculated. The lowest rate was in the southeastern Kurdish-majority province of Hakkari, where 5.8 percent of people have received vaccines. The rate in Istanbul, the largest city of 16 million people, stood at 20.4 percent.