As Turkey faces difficulties in the procurement of coronavirus vaccines, the country administered only 3.1 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during a 17-day lockdown, missing an opportunity to bring the country a step closer to getting the pandemic under control.
The government on April 29 imposed the strictest lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic which ran through May 16 as the country saw a soaring number of coronavirus infections, exceeding an average of 60,000 daily cases in mid-April.
Although Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had said Turkey has the ability to vaccinate 2 million people daily, the number of people receiving the shot remained at 186,000 a day during the lockdown.
Some 13,682,000 people had received one dose of the vaccine as of April 30, the first day of the lockdown, while only 9,004,362 had received two doses, totaling 22,686,688 vaccinations. On May 17, when the lockdown ended, those figures were 14,971,946 and 10,885,139, respectively, bringing total vaccinations administered to 25,857,085.
Turkey has been using vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and by Pfizer/BioNTech.
Turkey has so far secured only 4.5 million BionTech/Pfizer doses and is experiencing delays in the delivery of a promised 100 million shots from China. The country also signed a deal for the delivery of 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine last month.
As of Monday, Turkey began to implement a normalization process in stages as part of which evening and weekend curfews will continue. People aged 65 and above who are fully vaccinated as well as those under the age of 18 will not be subject to additional restrictions as part of the new measures. Restaurants will still only offer takeaway services for the time being.
In the meantime, Turkey reported 10,512 coronavirus infections and 223 deaths over the past 24 hours on Sunday.