COVID19: Cyprus reaches June vaccination goal, jabs for minors

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Cyprus has met its June target of vaccinating 65% of the adult population with a COVID-19 jab, as health authorities launch a campaign to vaccinate teenagers aged 16 and 17.

The Health Ministry said Cyprus would reach its vaccination goal on Wednesday, as 64.3% have already received a COVID-19 jab.

“The initial goal set for the vaccination of 65% of the eligible population during the first half of 2021 is achieved if calculations include today’s vaccinations that are ongoing,” the ministry said.

Fully vaccinated people account for 49.5% of the eligible population.

Aiming to boost the national vaccination coverage, following a new coronavirus outbreak, peaking at 334 on Tuesday, the ministry has launched a campaign to vaccinate teenagers under 18.

The online vaccination portal opened at 7.30 am on Wednesday to cater for the first time to minors aged 16 to 17.

The portal will remain open with more appointments being added.

Within two hours from going live, some 1070 appointments for minors were booked, along with an additional 230 appointments for adults, according to Health Ministry’s spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou.

Authorities have resorted to vaccinating minors after revealing that nearly 1 in three positive cases reported in recent days involved minors, especially teenagers aged 15 to 18.

The Health Ministry said that underaged teenagers would be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) upon the consent of their parents.

Vaccination appointments for teenagers can also be arranged through GPs or paediatricians.

When going to a vaccination centre for the COVID-19 jab, teenagers must carry a letter of consent signed by their parents or guardians and identification documents of their legal guardians.

The ministry said the scientific data suggest that minors experience similar symptoms from COVID-19 as adults.

Cyprus needs to achieve around 85% inoculation coverage, with more aggressive variants spreading in the community, to achieve herd immunity.