Government COVID-19 lead advisor Dr Constantinos Tsioutis believes the pandemic will not be fully under control this year but exist in a milder form in 2022.
The Assistant Professor in Infection Prevention and Control at the European University Cyprus
told CNA that duration of immunity COVID-19 vaccines offer is still an unknown.
“It has been about seven months since clinical trials began and all participants monitored continuously…it seems that immunity lasts certainly for seven months.”
The possibility that it lasts for a year is just a projection, he said, adding that it may last even longer but that is not a given.
“If needs be, we will inoculate again, this will depend on how many people receive the vaccine during the first year and how much the course of the pandemic will be placed under control through inoculation.”
It will also depend on the number of cases and whether there are new surges of the pandemic.
Tsioutis argued the pandemic will not be fully under control within 2021 “which means that it will also stay with us probably in a milder form in 2022.”
“Therefore, if vaccines offer protection for one year, we will need to be inoculated again…we cannot say with certainty because we do not know.”
He acknowledged the recent improvement of the cases positivity rate but said it is still too early to tell.
The rate, he said, indicates the situation within the community and is not connected with the number of patients in hospitals.
Covid patients treated in hospitals are contacts of confirmed cases from the last two to three weeks.
Tsioutis said the improvement in the positivity rate has to continue or improve further for some time to be able to say that Cyprus is slowly exiting critical levels.
He also referred to the deaths in Cyprus pointing out they were people who were contacts of others who contracted the disease.
“Unfortunately we will continue to witness deaths on a daily basis since in recent weeks we had such a high number of cases in the community and such a high positivity rate.”
The epidemiologist said the change witnessed started around January 10 was because the measures taken in December were bearing fruit.
“If this improvement is real, this will be evident in the coming days it is not yet due to the lockdown which started five days ago.”
Tsioutis said the determining factor in easing measures is to see an improvement in the hospitals.