COVID19: Over 80s snap up vaccination appointments

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Nearly 4,000 vaccination appointments in Nicosia were quickly exhausted on Monday within hours of becoming available online, the Health Ministry said.

A new batch of COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Nicosia residents older than 80, were taken just hours after the portal added the slots on midnight Sunday.

Some 3,960 COVID-19 vaccination appointments were made available through the government portal.

The Financial Mirror has received reports that senior citizens in Nicosia trying to book an appointment as early as 7 am on Monday, found there were no appointments left.

A Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou said that slots in other districts are expected to fill up fast.

“Witnessing the response of citizens, we think that it is just a matter of a few hours before they are exhausted there as well,” she said.

Senior citizens appear to be eager to get vaccinated as Monday’s experience was a repeat of last week when about 3000 appointments made available for the over 80s were filled within hours.

Appointments available on the platform, concerned vaccinations to take place in the week from January 18 to 22.

According to the Health Ministry, since the start of the vaccination programme on December 27 until 10 January, a total of 6,035 people have been vaccinated with the first of two doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“At a time when the Health System has to cope with the increased number of COVID-19 patients needing hospital care, the health service has given priority to vulnerable groups of the population in an attempt to bring down hospitalisations.

“And on the other hand, to protect health professionals and the health system,” said Kyriacou.

Cyprus’ vaccination rollout kicked-off on 27 December after receiving the first batch of 9,750 COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, and another 13,000 vaccines the following weeks.

Authorities have been criticised for a slow rollout of the vaccination program, with the health services pointing towards a slower than planned approval of vaccines by the European Union medical authorities.

Some 1.2 million doses were expected from AstraZeneca which was leading the vaccine race up until November when a number of setbacks delayed the rollout of the vaccine.

AstraZeneca could be applying for approval from the EMA this week.

Moderna’s vaccine has the green light from the European Medicine Agency, which is expected to add thousands of more vaccines weekly for Cyprus.