COVID19: More than 50% of over 80s vaccinated

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Cyprus’ vaccination rollout against COVID-19 has seen more than 50% of people over 80 given the Pfizer vaccine or book an appointment to get vaccinated, said Health Ministry officials.

Deputy head of medical services Olga Kalakouta told the Cyprus News Agency: “If everything goes according to plan, we will vaccinate everyone over 80 years of age by mid-February, before vaccinating people aged 75 and above”.

Around 33,000 people in Cyprus are aged over 80.

According to Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou, 10,266 have received the first of two jabs. This includes residents and staff of 114 out of the 121 care homes nationwide.

Interest from senior citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccine is high with weekly appointments made available via an online platform filled within hours.

The Health Ministry said 3,466 appointments at the nine vaccination centres for the over 80s made available on Monday at 9 am were gone within an hour.

“All available vaccines are given immediately, through appointments. We only keep the ones destined for people receiving the second jab.”

An additional 3,510 doses of Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive in Cyprus on Monday.

Kalakouta said that “so far, no one in Cyprus has suffered side effects after having been administered the vaccine”.

On reports of an investigation carried out in Norway, which allegedly reveals that 23 people died after taking the jab, Kalakouta said that she has not received any official information on the matter.

She said that the health service is satisfied with the public’s response to the vaccination plan.

“People’s willingness to get vaccinated is a testimony to their determination to protect their own health and to contribute towards safeguarding the public health system.

“This will be decisive in putting an end to the ongoing pandemic and health crisis,” said Kalakouta.

The island’s vaccination program will be affected by a delay in vaccine deliveries announced by Pfizer, as the firm’s delivery schedule will be interrupted for a week due to capacity upgrades.

As a result, the next delivery of Pfizer vaccines to Cyprus has been halved from 6,825 to 3,510, which is expected to affect the number of vaccinations in early February.

The Ministry did, however, note that the overall number of vaccines expected to be received from Pfizer during the first three months will not be affected.

Based on the national vaccination plan for COVID-19, the total amount of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines available to Cyprus is 391,637 (divided into 2 doses per person) until the third quarter of 2021.

A total of 48,955 was expected to be distributed in January, corresponding to vaccinating 24,477 people.

The first batch of 1,200 doses of vaccines from US pharmaceutical Moderna arrived in Cyprus last week.

Cyprus will receive 16,500 doses from Moderna before the end of March, and the first vaccines from AstraZeneca should arrive by mid-February.

The biggest order for vaccines is from AstraZeneca, amounting to 1,192,043.