Cyprus ministers rolled up their sleeves for the troubled AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in a bid by the government to restore public confidence in the jab.
Ministers not previously vaccinated against coronavirus took their first dose of the AZ jab at the State Fair vaccination centre in Engomi, Nicosia.
The move comes after thousands of AZ doses were shunned by Cypriots seeking to get vaccinated.
“What matters is the vaccination itself, not the vaccine”, President Nicos Anastasiades said Thursday after accompanying his cabinet ministers.
Anastasiades said the attendance of all his ministers, except those who had been vaccinated and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides away on a diplomatic business, sends a strong message for the need to get a jab.
Christodoulides will get vaccinated with AstraZeneca on Monday.
“The minimal side effects observed cannot be an obstacle to mass vaccination that creates the prospects of herd immunity, and allows us the opportunity to restart the economy, for people to regain their freedom, to live a normal life.”
The AZ vaccine lost its popularity after it was linked with rare blood clots.
Anastasiades argued that more than 38 million people in the UK had been vaccinated with AZ, and there have been negligible side effects.
He urged the public not to mull over what vaccine they should get and book their appointments when their turn is called.
Asked about further relaxing measures during Greek Easter, Anastasiades said it remains to be decided as scientists are still reviewing COVID data.
President Anastasiades was the first Cypriot to get vaccinated in December; he completed his vaccination in January.
He received two doses of the Pfizer jab, the only jab approved by the EU medicines regulator EMA at the time.