Cyprus on Sunday started vaccinating its population against COVID-19 as part of an intensified drive across the European Union to curb the pandemic which has destroyed lives and its economy.
Pensioners a care homes in the capital Nicosia and Larnaca and Limassol were the first to receive a shot of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which arrived by air on Saturday.
Andreas Raounas, an 84-year-old resident of a Nicosia care home and Panayiota Loizou Fylaktou, 88, and the director of the home, Athos Matsas were the first people to get vaccinated.
Cyprus joined other EU states in rolling out inoculations against the disease.
Raounas said he is aware of the possible side effects but pointed out that if you get the disease, you might die.
Panayiota Fylaktou said that she wanted to get the vaccine first because she wants her children and grandchildren to visit her.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou tweeted, “the beginning of the vaccinations in Cyprus gives us hope and the right to look at the future with optimism.
“This is the beginning of the countdown for the end of the pandemic.”
President Nicos Anastasiades posted on his Twitter account: “Today is a great day for our country…today is the beginning of the end of the biggest health crisis of the century.”
President Anastasiades will be vaccinated on Monday.
Cyprus has reported 19,391 cases of coronavirus, and 111 deaths.