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Feature: Turkish seniors hope pandemic to end with COVID-19 vaccines

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ISTANBUL, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — A state hospital in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul Wednesday was filled with senior citizens who came to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the ongoing mass inoculation program in the country.

A woman in her late 80s, accompanied by her son and daughter-in-law, arrived in the Ilhan Varank Training and Research Hospital located in the city’s Anatolian part to get her jab early in the morning.

“I came here very willfully, and I am very happy that I will finally get vaccinated,” Safiye Mazlum told Xinhua after getting her injection.

“I expect that this vaccination program will bring an end to this pandemic soon,” Mazlum noted, adding that she believed that the vaccine would protect her and she would not get caught in the coronavirus.

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“People have suffered a lot, I hope that these vaccines would heal everyone’s wounds,” she added.

Veli Ozturk, an 82-year-old pensioner, was the father of a healthcare professional working at the hospital.

Ozturk told Xinhua that he believed that even if the vaccines do not end the pandemic, they will slow down its pace.

Senior citizens have to wait at hospitals for at least half-an-hour after the injections in case of an emergency side effect, according to the regulation of the Turkish Health Ministry.

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In line with the vaccination schedule, Turkey has started to vaccinate citizens aged 80 and over at the beginning of the week.

According to the Turkish health ministry’s data, 1.46 million people have been vaccinated in the country, which has a population of 83 million, since the start of the campaign on Jan. 14.

On Monday, Turkey received 6.5 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac. The first batch of 3 million doses of the jabs had arrived at the end of December 2020.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday that his country would get 50 million vaccines as part of the procurement plan in the first phase.

“With the steps… we started to get our vaccines quickly,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by local media.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca urged citizens to strictly follow the COVID-19 related measures as the number of daily cases stands at around 7,000.

“The number of cases is still at an unsettling level. We should stay away from the crowd and pay attention to wearing masks and the social distancing rules in closed environments,” Koca said in a tweet on Tuesday.

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