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Turkey Is Making COVID-19 Vaccines Available for All People 55 and Older

Αssociated Press

Parents and kids wearing masks to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, enjoy the warm weather in a public garden hours before a two-day weekend nationwide lockdown, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is making COVID-19 vaccines available for all people 55 and older as of Monday.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca says via Twitter that Turkey is moving to a “new phase” in its inoculation program. He's urging everyone eligible to make appointments to get their shots. Previously people 60 and older were eligible, along with people with underlying health conditions.

The country has seen record numbers of infections and deaths since the government eased restrictions in early March. A partial lockdown was reinstated April 13, including an extended evening curfew on weekdays, a return to online education and a ban on unnecessary intercity travel.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also re-imposed weekend lockdowns and ordered restaurants and cafes shut during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

So far, 20 million people in the country of 84 million have received at least one of dose of COVID-19 vaccines.