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COVID19: Cyprus launches new phase of vaccinations

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Following a ‘successful’ first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, Cyprus’ rollout goes back to the top of the age ladder, giving priority to groups that had been called just once before.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the vaccination portal would reopen starting with the age groups only given one opportunity to schedule an appointment and, for whatever reason, did not manage to do so.

On Monday, Cyprus offered a COVID-19 jab to the youngest members of the population eligible for a jab, as the portal catered to those aged 18 to 21.

The portal will open on Wednesday for those aged 61-65, and on Friday, it’s the turn of 46 to 49-year-olds.

Ioannou said more Cypriots are getting the vaccine, bringing the end of the pandemic a step nearer as GPs alone are administering 1,500 AZ jabs daily.

“Despite initial reservations and concerns, which is understandable, day by day, more citizens trust the vaccine and recognize it is essentially the most effective tool we have in our fight against the pandemic,” said Ioannou.

He argued the goal of vaccinating 65% of the population with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June is achievable.

Until Monday, 45.2% of the population was vaccinated with the first dose (334,258 people), and 15.5% have been fully vaccinated (114,476 people).

Noting that vaccines offer 95% protection against infection and serious disease, Ioannou the vaccination rollout in Cyprus is paying off.

Statistics reflect the reality, argued the minister.

“A reduction in the average age of cases means a reduction in the average number of days that patients need to be hospitalized and a reduction in the chances of admission to an Intensive Care Unit or death.

“In the age group of 70 and above, with vaccination coverage at 85%, the incidence rate is extremely low, with the median age of patients hovering close to 60 in recent weeks.”

The Health Minister said measures taken recently resulted in dealing with the pandemic while building a protection wall with vaccinations.

He said the decision to increase targeted testing in the community allowed authorities to detect cases early, keeping a lid on the spread of the virus.

“We limited our losses and kept Cyprus among the EU countries with the fewest number of deaths,” Ioannou said.

Cyprus has the second lowest mortality rate among EU countries.