Rapid vaccine drive readies Turkish tourism hub Antalya for summer

Turkish health workers have vaccinated more than a million people in the southern Mediterranean resort city of Antalya against COVID-19.

More than 1 million doses have been administered to some 73% of the target population, according to Ünal Hülür, the provincial health director for Antalya.

“We used this lockdown period to our advantage by boosting vaccinations in our province; our immunization drive has continued without any letup,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).

He said the efforts have had a positive impact and brought about a significant decrease in the number of cases.

According to Hülür, 73.2% of Antalya’s target population has received the first dose of the vaccine and 55% have been fully vaccinated.

Some 87.8% of health care workers, 85.8% of people above 65, and 81.6% of people working in nursing homes have been vaccinated.

The immunization drive is progressing rapidly in Antalya, a major local and global tourist hub.

Along with health care professionals and the elderly, provincial authorities have also given priority to tourism workers, teachers, police and gendarmerie personnel, court officials and employees, journalists, people with chronic diseases, and spouses of health workers.

Persuasion teams have also been set up by the provincial health directorate to raise awareness among those hesitant about COVID-19 shots.

Ferit Turgut, the chairperson of the Mediterranean Region Representation Board of the Union of Turkish Travel Agencies, pointed out that vaccination drives have been carried out to create “green zones” in Europe.

“Having such green zones in Turkey will have positive effects on our entire economy, tourism, and health. According to the latest statistics, some 60% to 70% of all tourism sector employees have been vaccinated, which is a very encouraging sign,” he said.

Turkey has so far administered over 29.22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January.

An ongoing normalization process has seen restrictions being eased this month, with in-person dining allowed in restaurants, daily curfew now running from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and a full lockdown on Sundays.

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