Turkey is moving towards a vaccine mandate for teachers, students and their families as the rate of inoculation slows and infections increase.
Fahretin Kodja, the country’s health minister, said “face-to-face training is mandatory” and the government will implement measures to ensure that eligible teachers and the families they live with receive their photos. Those who remain unvaccinated, especially parents, may need to show negative Covid-19 test results, he said.
“So far, our vaccination program has been a matter of encouragement and preference. However, now it is a social duty that cannot be left to the choice of every citizen, “Kocha said in a televised speech after meeting with his coronavirus working group.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later said he did not believe the vaccine mandate would violate human rights and that the decision to open schools would be made at a cabinet meeting next week.
The country’s education minister resigned last week amid criticism from teachers that schools were not prepared to reopen safely, as planned on September 6th. Most of Turkey’s 18.2 million primary and secondary school students have been learning a person’s instruction remotely since March 2020.
Vaccines are available for everyone aged 18 or over in Turkey. About 37% of the population of 84 million people have received two doses, according to the health ministry.
Turkey registered 27,356 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, up from about 4,000 in early July when coronavirus restrictions were eased.
Kodja also said the country plans to publish in a scientific journal its findings on the effectiveness of a third dose of the vaccine. The highest level of protection is among individuals who have received three doses of the “inactive vaccine,” he said, and the next best level of protection is for those who have had two doses of the inactive vaccine and a third dose of the mRNA vaccine.
Healthcare workers and people aged 50 and over have been offered a third dose from the end of June. Turkey has used both Chinese-made CoronaVac with an inactivated pathogen and Pfizer / BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, a new technology that instructs cells to produce a protein that elicits an immune response.