Turkey says world leader in COVID-19 vaccines, but data shows a different reality

Turkey is ranked among the top nations in the world for administrating COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

“In terms of the jabs administered, we are seventh in the world,” Koca said on Twitter at the weekend. He published a table showing Turkey had provided 107.4 million doses, placing it behind countries including China, India and the United States, but ahead of Germany, the United Kingdom and all other European nations.

The figures provided by Koca ignore population. Turkey is home to about 85 million people. The government has also administered more than the normally required two doses to millions of people because of problems with the Chinese Coronavac vaccine, which Europe has not approved for use.

In terms of the proportion of its population vaccinated, Turkey ranks 67th globally after fully vaccinating 51.3 percent of its citizens, according to ourworldindata.org. It lags 27 European countries. In the EU, the average inoculation rate is 62.1 percent.   

“We also overtook Germany, which has a similar population size to Turkey and is a jab-producing country,” Koca said. Germany has fully vaccinated 63.3 percent of its citizens.

Turkey registered 25,861 new COVID-19 infections and 228 deaths on Sunday, the Health Ministry said.

Cases climbed above 20,000 daily in late July, reaching the highest levels since April, after the government ended daily curfews and travel restrictions at the start that month. New cases numbered less than 5,000 per day in early July.

Most European countries recommend that its citizens do not visit Turkey due to high infection rates and require them to quarantine upon return.



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