Turkey is among the top nations in the world in giving the most number of COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.
“In terms of the jabs administered, we ranked seventh in the world, overtaking even Germany, which has a similar population size to Turkey and is a jab-producing country. Among the top six nations on the list are countries like China and the U.S. that are also vaccine-producing countries with a large population,” Koca tweeted on Sept. 25.
As of Sept. 24, China administered nearly 2.2 billion doses of the vaccine, followed by India at over 850 million. The U.S. came third at more than 389 million, whereas in Germany 107 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administrated.
Since it rolled out its inoculation program in mid-January, Turkey has given nearly 108 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
According to data from the Health Ministry, to date, more than 43 million people, or some 70 percent of the population aged 18 and above, have received two doses of the jab while over 53 million people, which correspond to 86 percent of the adult population, have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.
Turkey has also given third booster shots to over 10 million people.
However, there are still only nine provinces out of 81 in the country where more than 75 percent of the adult residents are fully vaccinated, which qualify as low-risk provinces, with the northwestern province of Kırklareli topping the list at over 77 percent.
In Istanbul, Turkey’s most crowded city, a little over 66 percent of the adult population have been given two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine while the corresponding rates for Ankara are some 73 percent and İzmir at almost 75 percent.
In many southeastern and eastern provinces, including Şanlıurfa and Diyarbakır, the vaccination rates for two doses are still below 65 percent, which make them high-risk or very-high-risk provinces.
Turkey has seen a steady increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases since mid-July and the death toll from the pandemic increasing starting from August.
Official data show that currently, daily infections are hovering at above 28,000, while over 200 patients are losing their lives because of the virus.
In the face of the surge in the cases, Koca and experts are urging people on a regular basis to get their shots at a time when mobility increased after millions of students returned to schools early this month for face-to-face education following an almost 18-month break.