The fight against COVID-19 has shifted to confront the biases against vaccines as the coronavirus becomes a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
The situation in Turkey is complex. Around 43 million people have received their first doses and 31 million are fully vaccinated. The intense vaccination campaign continues across the country but so do the conspiracy theories against the vaccines.
I describe myself as a liberal democrat. For me, the choice to be vaccinated should be left to the individual. However, the situation poses a serious dilemma. This personal choice affects society as a whole. The more people remain unvaccinated, the more the nation states feel the need to implement lockdowns that actually interfere with basic freedoms.
So, the dilemma is: Can we support voluntary vaccination despite the fact that it leads to sacrificing the freedoms of movement, education and expression?
The answer is difficult; however, humanity should find ways to persuade individuals to get vaccinated.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca recently announced that more than half of Turkish citizens over 18 are now fully vaccinated. Yet, cases continue to climb due to the delta variant infecting the unvaccinated.
The vaccination campaign should accelerate as summer comes to an end. In September, schools are scheduled to reopen, which means all teachers and school staff should be vaccinated. At the moment, 80% of them have received vaccinations, but the goal is to vaccinate them all.
Turkey was forced to close its schools due to the pandemic, so the aim should be to keep schools fully open. Ankara has indicated that there won’t be new restrictions before October. In order to prevent new restrictions, more than 60% of the population should be vaccinated by the end of September.
Of course, Turkey is not the only country facing the challenge of vaccinations. In order to fight the pandemic, global solutions are needed. More people vaccinated around the world means fewer restrictions will be needed.
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is a health specialist who has been working with world leaders to make vaccines accessible for all nations.
That call is very important. If the poorer countries don’t get vaccines, we can never control the disease. So, the distribution should be much more equal and it should be based on the logic of donations.
So, the fight is two-sided: We should convince more people to get vaccinated, and the world leaders should come together to share the vaccines with the underdeveloped world.
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