Seniors over 65 and healthcare workers who were given the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine should receive the third shot to protect them against the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on June 28.
"Vaccine appointments for shots proven to be effective against the delta variant should be immediately opened to healthcare workers and seniors over 65 who were the initial groups to have been vaccinated," the TTB said in a tweet.
Aşılamanın yapıldığı ilk gruplar olan sağlık çalışanları ile 65 yaş ve üzeri yurttaşlara Delta varyantına karşı etkililiği kanıtlanmış aşıların randevuları derhal açılmalıdır.— TürkTabipleriBirliği (@ttborgtr) June 28, 2021
Seniors over 65 and healthcare workers were allocated first priority for the COVID-19 vaccine by the Turkish Health Ministry in January, when Ankara hadn't yet been able to obtain BioNTech or other vaccines.
Infectious diseases expert Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan noted that there wasn't concrete data indicating the absolute necessity of a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but that two doses of the Sinovac shot hadn't protected all healthcare workers.
"I recommend that healthcare workers receive the BioNTech vaccine as a third dose at least three, preferably six months after they received a second dose," Ceyhan said. "But we don't have concrete data to recommend the same for the general public."
Ankara is considering using a domestically-developed vaccine as a third treatment on Sinovac recipients, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in his latest statement on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has not yet revealed the latest data on the diagnosis for the highly contagious delta variant as travelers from countries like Russia and India who suffer from the novel strain are allowed to enter the country.
Minister Koca said on June 23 that Turkey has so far identified 134 cases of delta variant.