Turkish Health Ministry to form 'persuasion teams' for hesitant vaccine candidates

Turkey's Health Ministry will form "persuasion teams" for anyone eligible to take the COVID-19 vaccine but hasn't, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told the daily Hürriyet. The ministry aims to vaccinate all citizens over 40 by the end of June, Koca added.

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Turkey's Health Ministry will be forming "persuasion teams" to inform any hesitant candidates about the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine in efforts to increase the domestic vaccination rate, Minister Fahrettin Koca said on April 14.

The teams will work with family doctors to identify any eligible candidates who haven't claimed their COVID-19 vaccines since the country started inoculations on Jan. 4, the daily Hürriyet reported.

Some 14 percent of eligible healthcare workers haven't received their vaccines, while 23.6 percent of eligible seniors remain untreated, Koca said, adding that "these doses didn't go to waste," although he didn't further specify.

"We will vaccinate everyone over 40 by the end of June," Koca said. 

The Health Ministry's priority schedule gave precedence to healthcare workers, seniors and individuals with chronic illnesses, although many politicians were noted to receive the treatment before their turn arrived. 

Turkey implemented a third partial lockdown on April 13 as the daily number of COVID-19 deaths and diagnoses surged to record highs following what experts interpreted as a premature relaxing of restrictions. 

Koca said that the government had accelerated diplomatic efforts to obtain additional doses of the Sinovac, BioNTech and Sputnik vaccines and that domestic vaccine trials were ongoing.