Cyprus is closing in on its target of vaccinating 65% of Cypriots with a COVID-19 jab to reach herd immunity, as over half of the adult population has received a vaccine.
When visiting the Vaccination Centre at the State Fair on Monday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou and European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides expressed their satisfaction with the course of the National Vaccination Plan.
“Currently, about 53% of the population has been vaccinated with the first dose, and 28% have completed their vaccination.
“We are building the wall of immunity. We already see the results from the vaccination in the reduction of hospitalisations and cases in the ages that have already been shielded, which are those over 60 and especially those over 70,” said Ioannou.
He said scientists had urged people to come forward for their second AstraZeneca shot due to public hesitancy after the vaccine was linked to rare blood clotting incidents.
People have had their second appointment brought forward after the gap between doses was shortened from 12 to eight weeks.
The ministry has recommended that people under 50 should opt for an alternative to AstraZeneca.
Ioannou said 329 people who have booked an AZ appointment for the first shot could cancel it and wait their turn to opt for a different vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).
“We must stress that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been banned. We have issued a recommendation made for those under 50 to choose mRNA technology vaccines.”
Kyriakides congratulated the Health Minister on the progress made to vaccinate the population against COVID-19.
“Cyprus is currently among leading EU member states regarding vaccinating people with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“At the same time, I wanted to thank all the medical and paramedical staff of the Vaccination Centres and the citizens themselves,” said Kyriakides.
Asked about herd immunity, She said Brussels had secured supply to member states with enough vaccines to cover 70% of the adult population by mid-July.
The EU Health Commissioner said two weeks ago she signed a new contract with BioNTech / Pfizer for the supply of 1.8 billion doses to be delivered at the end of 2021, 2022 and 2023.
“So that we are prepared for the possibility of a next dose, but also doses that cover mutations”.
As of May 30, a total of 595,906 vaccinations had been carried out (67.7 doses per 100 inhabitants).
Some 52.3% of the adult population has been vaccinated with one shot (386,710), and 28.3% have completed their vaccination (209,196).