COVID19: Second AZ jab rescheduled after delay

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Following a delay, the Health Ministry has started rescheduling appointments for people who received the first dose of AstraZeneca in March, following a decision to shorten the wait from 12 to eight weeks.

Initially, the two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered with a 12-week gap, but a rise in infections gave way to experts deciding to reduce the wait to eight weeks.

The decision was taken in April, but the first text messages with new dates only went out last Thursday, with the ministry saying 12,600-second jab appointments have been rescheduled.

Another 25,000 covering up to June 23 are being rescheduled over the next few days.

Justifying the delay in informing people, the ministry said it was primarily due to late shipments by the vaccine maker.

“Despite this, and according to the schedule for deliveries submitted by the government, the quantities to be sent in June are enough to administer the second dose of all those who have already been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the ministry said.

The new dates for a second jab are being sent by SMS text message.

People to be vaccinated at the Polis Chrysochous and Troodos Hospital vaccination centres are informed by phone.

The ministry stressed the importance of completing the vaccination to offer effective protection.

Cyprus’ improved epidemiological data is largely due to the vaccination rollout.

Overall, 372,696 people have received the first dose (50.4% of the adult population), and 175,219 (23.7%) have completed their vaccination.

“Reaching herd immunity (65%), shielding the population, while reducing the spread of the virus and preventing the spread of mutations, is contingent on vaccinations continuing at the same intensive pace,” stressed the ministry.