ANKARA

Turkey has completed the first stage of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, according to the Health Ministry.

In the first stage, along with health care staff, people over the age of 65, the elderly, disabled, adults living in crowded places, and those living at nursing homes received the vaccine.

On Jan. 13, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca became the first person to receive the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine. Following the minister, the committee members of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board were vaccinated as well.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 14. Health workers also started to receive the first doses on the same day.

On Jan. 19, those living in nursing homes and those responsible for their care, as well as the elderly aged 90 and over, were vaccinated at home.

Later, following the evaluation of the scientific committee, people over 85 and older started to be vaccinated at home on Jan. 21.

As of Jan. 25, people older than 80 had their vaccinations by making appointments from health institutions. Those over the age of 75 got the first doses as of Jan. 27.

The second dose of the CoronaVac vaccine was given to healthcare professionals starting on Feb. 11, following the completion of 28 days after the first dose. The vaccination of people over 70 years old started on the same day.

Those over the age of 65, including their spouses over 60, started to receive the vaccine on Feb. 12.

According to the vaccine calendar, people aged between 50-64 will receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the second stage of the drive.

Also, essential workers and those with at least one chronic disease will be vaccinated. The second stage covers employees of the national defense, interior, and justice ministries as well as people working in critical positions, prisons, police, private security personnel, teachers, faculty members, and individuals working in the transportation and food sectors.

The vaccination of the teachers will start with priority given to those who will teach in-person classes.

In the third stage, people under the age of 50 with at least one chronic disease, young adults, those working in sectors and professions which are not included in the first two stages will be vaccinated.

In the fourth and last stage, all individuals other than the first three groups will receive the vaccine.

Pandemic figures in Turkey, worldwide

As of Wednesday, Turkey administered over 7.66 million vaccine doses.

Since last December, Turkey has had curfews on weeknights and weekends to curb the virus’s spread.

Last week, officials announced plans to start a gradual normalization process from March.

The country has so far confirmed more than 2.65 million cases, over 2.53 million recoveries, and 28,213 fatalities related to COVID-19.

The pandemic has claimed more than 2.48 million lives in 192 countries and regions since December 2019.

Over 112.18 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries now above 63.34 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of infections.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar