COVID19: Health Ministry advances booster roadmap

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Cyprus’ rollout of booster shots for COVID-19 is underway at care homes, reaching out to those aged 65 and over, health professionals and the immunodeficient.

Hundreds of COVID-19 booster jabs have been administered since last week’s Cabinet decision to enhance the waning immunity levels of the elderly and vulnerable groups.

The Health Ministry said booster shots would be given to those who have completed their vaccination scheme with one of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

People vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine will not be included in this phase of the booster rollout.

The booster shot is administered six months after the completion of the second dose.

However, people on immunosuppressants are exempted from the above and can take the booster shot at least four weeks after the second dose has been given and in such a way that it does not coincide with their therapy.

This includes people who are immunosuppressed/immunodeficient who are receiving treatment for solid tumours and haematological malignancies, have a transplant history, people with HIV Infection/AIDS.

People on cortisone treatments are also eligible for a third dose, provided that they are receiving a total dose larger than 10 mg of prednisone per day (=8 mg of methylprednisolone) for 1 month in the last six months.

The above two groups will be contacted by authorities to be given their appointments by phone.

According to the Health Ministry, priority will be given to those staying or working at nursing homes which the mobile units will vaccinate.

Those aged 65 and over will be called to arrange their appointment through the vaccination portal of the Health Ministry.

The portal will open gradually for each age subgroup, starting with the older ages as the first rollout.

Those under 65 will be called in for a booster jab later, according to the procedures followed by other EU member states.

Cyprus has started rolling its COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to residents of care homes on 3 September with 182 inoculations carried out.

Health professionals vaccination priority will be given to those working in COVID-19 wards or ICUs and the ambulance services.