It is not likely the pandemic will end soon. The numbers continue to climb around the globe, and many countries are reimplementing new restrictions or lockdowns. The omicron variant has changed the calculations. Vaccines are said to protect against this variant as well, but the world needs extra doses.
BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin have declared that a third dose three to five months after the second dose is necessary to keep the immune system protected against the virus. So many countries, including Turkey, have already started the booster doses.
On the other hand, Turkey’s domestically developed COVİD-19 vaccine Turkovac also received emergency approval this week.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that public hospitals would start using the vaccine in 10 days.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a video message, “Our COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac, which has come to the production and usage stage by receiving the necessary approvals, is a symbol of our efforts to protect our nation against the pandemic in the most effective way."
The Turkish vaccine is an important factor in convincing those skeptical of BioNTech to get their jabs. At least 20% of the population has yet to be vaccinated and for most of them, a Turkish product will likely help them overcome their concerns. Most of those who resist vaccinations base their position on conspiracy theories against Western-made products. Some of them even believe that BioNTech aims to put chips into our bodies to control us.
Turkovac is a means to overcome the conspiracy mania and helps to increase the numbers of the vaccinated.
Worldwide, skeptics insist on staying unvaccinated; however, the issue has been disputed in relation to the right of individual choice or well being of the community. In my opinion, it is not an individual choice since the rate of vaccinated people in the population affects our routine lives. The more people stay unvaccinated, the longer normalization will take.
The reason for the ongoing pandemic measures is the resistance of the people to vaccination. We should immediately raise the number of the vaccinated population.
Omicron is spreading, and it can lead to widespread disruption of health systems. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are three to five times more likely to be reinfected with omicron compared to delta.
All over Europe and the U.S., restrictions are on the rise again. There are lockdowns and prohibitions of social events in many cities for Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
So speaking for Turkey with the introduction of Turkovac, high numbers can be achieved in vaccination which could help Turkey prevent an omicron-based restriction phase.