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COVID19: Walk-in jab centres off to a busy start

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Walk-in vaccination centres saw a brisk take-up, as within their first hour of operation on Thursday, 270 people had already received their first COVID-19 shot.

Five walk-in centres in all districts started offering COVID-19 jabs without needing to book an online appointment.

Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou said each station was supplied with 100 vaccines, to begin with.

She said interest was unexpectedly high, with the Limassol walk-in vaccination centre running out by 10 am, with authorities planning to send out another 100 batch.

Up until 9 am, 42 people received a COVID-19 jab at the centre in Paphos General Hospital, 54 at the Linopetra health centre in Limassol, 50 at the Latsia health centre Nicosia, 63 at the Larnaca port walk-in and 61 people at Famagusta General.

The walk-in centres cater to people who want to get their first jab on a first-come, first-serve basis.

People receiving their first jab at the walk-in centres will be given appointments for their second dose at standard vaccination centres.

Walk-in stations are open from 8 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday and are currently offering only Pfizer vaccines.

For the time being, only people registered with the country’s General Health System are eligible for a vaccine.

Health authorities introduced the express jab process to boost its decelerating COVID-19 vaccination rollout, targeting people who have not received a shot.

Authorities have also tightened measures for the unvaccinated and incentivising younger people to get jabbed.

The Health Ministry said most hospital patients are not vaccinated, with 90% of positive cases involving unvaccinated people.

The government has reintroduced the Safe Pass for outdoor and indoor hospitality and other venues where people gather in large numbers to stem a new outbreak of COVID-19.

The Safe Pass is needed at restaurants, events, reception halls, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms, music and dance venues, bars, discos, amphitheatres, theatres, cinemas, religious places, and stadiums, excluding football stadiums.

A Safe Pass is documented proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine, a negative PCR or rapid test no older than 72 hours, or proof of recovering from the virus in the past six months.

Those who visit walk-ins must carry identification documents, such as an ID card or a passport.