SAKARYA  (Turkey), Jan 7  — The elderly and unvaccinated people are still at risk if infected by the omicron variant of COVID-19, a Turkish doctor warned Thursday.

“According to our initial observations, those who are infected by the omicron variant of the coronavirus tend to show milder symptoms, yet the elderly population and unvaccinated people are still at risk,” Anadolu Agency reported Oguz Karabay, Dean of the Sakarya University Faculty of Medicine said.

Karabay said the omicron variant is spreading faster and it will further increase the number of patients.

“Despite the vaccine, it can cause disease. But the current vaccines still continue to be effective against serious illness and death,” he said.

While noting that omicron is expected to become the dominant variant soon, he said it is not expected to cause more deaths.

He advised people to continue maintaining social distance, regularly wash their hands, wear a mask and get vaccines and booster shots.

Highlighting the importance of vaccine administration, he praised Turkey’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac. He said Turkovac has no serious side effects and helps Turkey reduce its imports of vaccines.

Turkovac was approved for emergency use across Turkey in late December 2021. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to make it available globally, saying it will be used to benefit all humanity.

The country has administered more than 132.15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched an immunisation drive in January 2021.

Since December 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 5.47 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with more than 300 million cases reported worldwide, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.


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