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COVID19: Cyprus bemoans slow EU vaccines rollout

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades outlined to Brussels the difficulties the island is facing because of the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines ordered through the EU.

He said the challenges are mainly due to the delays in the production of the pharmaceutical companies with which the EU has signed contracts.

Anastasiades participated in a videoconference of EU leaders Thursday evening to discuss coordinating efforts to contain the pandemic.

He called on the Commission to continue working intensively so pharmaceutical companies meet their obligations and that EU countries receive increased quantities of vaccines the soonest possible.

On Cyprus’ vaccination program, Anastasiades that according to the strategy it is expected that by June 50% of the population will have received the jab while by September 100% of those wanted to get inoculation will be covered.

He also expressed support for Greece’s proposal to introduce an EU vaccination certificate with the aim, as soon as conditions allow, of the gradual lifting of travel restrictions.

The EU leaders agreed that there is a need to step up the inoculations and meet the vaccination targets as soon as possible.

In his intervention, the President thanked the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides for their efforts to fully meet the vaccination needs of all Member States.

Brussels has so far secured 600 million coronavirus vaccine jabs, and despite criticisms over the slow rollout in some member states, vaccination programmes have begun.

More will follow as other vaccine candidates such as the Moderna one are approved, and the bloc currently has enough doses in the pipeline to immunise some 80% of its population, according to Ursula von der Leyen.

Cyprus has ordered around 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines but Pfizer’s supply has been reduced temporarily, Moderna is coming in small quantities while the biggest order is with AstraZeneca which has yet to be approved.