COVID19: Teenagers opting for jab

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More than one in ten teenagers aged 16 and 17 have got their first of two COVID-19 jabs vindicating the government’s decision to widen vaccine coverage.

Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriakou said 13.3% of teenagers aged 16-17 had received the first dose of a Pfizer vaccine since the online portal opened for them on 30 June.

According to data provided by Kyriacou, 22,541 vaccination appointments were scheduled between July 2-10.

Health authorities said their decision to vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds was to ensure the protection of public health “after taking into account the recommendations of the Cyprus paediatric society”.

In supporting its decision, the ministry cited data from the contact tracing team suggesting “almost 30% of new coronavirus cases are people aged 18 and under, especially teenagers aged 15 to 18”.

Scientific data suggest that minors experience similar symptoms from COVID-19 as adults.

Vaccination of students is seen as contributing to the smooth operation of schools, with the physical presence of students.

Cyprus has vaccinated 66.8% of people eligible for a COVID-19 jab, while 57.4% have completed their vaccination course.

The update on vaccinations came as health experts expressed their concern over the rising number of patients in hospitals.

Dr Maria Koliou, a government adviser on coronavirus, told CyBC radio: “Cyprus is going through a fourth wave of the virus…the situation will become critical if Cyprus starts experiencing a shortage of hospital beds, respirators and nursing staff”.

Spokesperson of the state health services organisation (OKYPY) Charalambos Charilaou warned the healthcare system would come under pressure when COVID admissions surpass 300.

On Sunday, 139 patients were being treated for Covid-19 in state hospitals, 34 were in an ICU, while 13 were intubated.