ADDS STATEMENT RELEASED AFTER SCIENCE COMMITTEE MEETING; CORRECTS FIGURES IN 3RD, 4TH AND 5TH PARAGRAPHS
By Jeyhun Aliyev and Dilan Pamuk
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has administered more than 122.03 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched an immunization drive in January, according to official figures on Wednesday.
Over 56.58 million people have received a first vaccine dose, while some 51.03 million have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.
Turkey has also given third booster shots to more than 12.77 million people.
Meanwhile, the ministry confirmed 19,872 new coronavirus infections, 193 related deaths, and 25,239 recoveries over the past day.
As many as 357,325 virus tests were done in the past 24 hours.
Turkey’s Science Committee, the country’s leading decision-making body on pandemic management, met to discuss the omicron strain, vaccination program and the course of the pandemic.
In a statement following the meeting, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the current situation regarding the omicron variant is not worrisome.
Although the new variant spreads more swiftly, no record of higher severity of illness has been reported so far, the statement said.
Underlining the importance of vaccination in the fight against the pandemic, it said: “Strengthening immunization shield through vaccination stands out among the measures that can be taken in case omicron becomes the dominant variant.”
A booster vaccine shot will be available for citizens who received their last dose at least three months ago in order to stem the spread of the virus.
Separately, Koca shared the latest incidence map showing the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people between Oct. 27 and Dec. 3.
The number of cases followed a downward trend in the metropolis Istanbul to hit 269.58 and reached 69.5 in the western Izmir province, and 182.37 in the capital Ankara.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 5.32 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with at least 271.8 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.