Turkey considers testing unvaccinated folks to map out an infection

Given the current spread in Turkey, dubbed the “unvaccinated pandemic”, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that additional measures would be considered to prevent unvaccinated people from mingling with others. The minister said they are considering introducing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on unvaccinated individuals in certain locations such as concert halls, cinemas, buses and airplanes.

“Some countries have already implemented this practice and we can do it to protect our citizens too. It can be used where people are standing or sitting next to each other. The tests will be free. People who resist vaccination may be asked to have a test every two days. Our goal here is to protect those who are vaccinated and want to get on with their daily lives, ”Koca told the Hürriyet newspaper on Thursday.

She did not want to punish the unvaccinated, but to convince them, said the minister. “I think it is the right way to remove public reluctance to have vaccines, and I believe it will ultimately work. We are talking about a society that has accepted vaccinations against other diseases like smallpox at a rate of 98%. People are just reluctant to get coronavirus vaccines. We can overcome this hesitation by properly informing the public. There shouldn’t be any mandatory measures, ”he said.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases this week peaked in months, Turkey has managed to deliver more than 74 million doses of vaccine since the vaccination program began in January. Almost 28 million people were given both doses. The country is aiming for an immunity rate of at least 70% in the population in order to lessen the impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the rapidly expanding delta variant threatens the improvement of the situation. Hundreds have been infected with the Delta variant, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

The country also encountered a hook in its vaccination program due to a dose shortage, but authorities say the problem stemming from manufacturing issues at BioNTech, one of two vaccine suppliers for Turkey, has been resolved. Turkey plans to receive around 13 million doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccination by next week.

Koca said they would focus their vaccination efforts on regions with low vaccination rates. He said the ministry had increased the number of mobile crews there to reach the unvaccinated and had enlisted the help of prominent people in these places to convince more people to get their stings.

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