“SCIENCE says the injection is safe. It’s been tested.”
In this episode of “Coming Soon to Western Countries,” health care workers in Turkey knock on the doors of people who refused vaccination or skipped their appointments, and attempt to persuade them to get vaccinated on the spot.
A coronavirus “vaccination persuasion” initiative targeting elderly people who have declined invitations to get vaccinated is gearing up to be rolled out across Turkey after proving a resounding success in a district in the country’s south-east.
Since February, doctors and healthcare workers in the mainly Kurdish city of Adıyaman, or Semsûr, have been calling people in age groups already eligible for the vaccine to ask why they have not come to clinics for appointments.
Then, equipped with cooler boxes full of vaccine vials, and occasionally accompanied by muhtars, or community leaders, they fan out across the rural area to visit patients who are still reluctant.
The theory is that a face-to-face conversation will help change people’s minds. It is working, boosting the vaccine take-up rate among the 250,000 strong population scattered across the province’s central district by nearly 30%, according to Dr Hülya Doğan Tiryaki.
“The teams are advised to use calming language and logical arguments over the phone. About half of the people we call then tell us they will come to a clinic for their vaccination,” she said.
“Everyone else we then go visit in person, and our 35 teams manage to convince about 150 people a day. Having community leaders come with us helps a lot: they know the families we visit, and open up a channel of trust.”
While Ankara aims to have vaccinated everyone over the age of 40 against Covid-19 by the end of June, according to the latest available figures from the health ministry, vaccine scepticism in Turkey is high: 23.6% of over-65s have decided not to get inoculated, as well as 14% of healthcare workers.
They’re not only skeptical – they’re outright hesitant.
What’s more: they might not want to get the “vaccine” because they’re religious and it’s made out of aborted babies. (Moslems have a similar view on abortion as Christians.)
Adıyaman’s persuasion campaign got under way thanks to early efforts from the local health authority and governor’s office, which sought approval from the health ministry.
The health minister, Fahrettin Koca, said this month the strategy would be rolled out nationwide, although no dates have yet been given. Antalya province, on the Mediterranean, began a similar campaign last week.
It’s only a matter of time before Western countries implement something similar.
Your neighbors could turn into monsters any moment now.