Third dose and normalization: Turkey enters new stage in pandemic

It is a “booster” July for the Turkish public amid the coronavirus pandemic. After months of curfews, morale is being boosted thanks to an end to most restrictions and the prospect of reaching mass immunity as the country starts administering “booster” vaccines, or third doses, to people aged 50 and above as well as health care workers.

The latest phase of the normalization process began Thursday across the country that has battled the pandemic since March 2020. Nighttime curfews and weekend curfews were completely lifted while most businesses were given more freedom to operate. Essentially, only mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing rules remain in the country which imposed a strict lockdown last month.

Also on Thursday, “booster” doses started being administered in a bid to increase antibody levels among vaccinated individuals. Health care workers were first to receive the third shot, and were also the first to be inoculated in the country back in January. The Health Ministry also expanded the booster shot campaign to include people aged 50 and above. Health care workers who received their second shot three months ago will be eligible for the third dose, while others will have to wait to reach the three-month threshold. Gradually, more people would be included in the third dose campaign.

People will be able to choose a different vaccine from the one they received before. Currently, CoronaVac, produced by China’s Sinovac and a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech are available in the country. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is also expected to be included in vaccine inventory this week. Experts recommend a third dose as antibodies created by the first dose of the vaccine decrease with time.

(c) Daily Sabah


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