COVID19: Cyprus needs harder push for herd immunity

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Cyprus’ COVID-19 vaccination coverage is stuck just under 80% of the adult population, with authorities having difficulty persuading younger people to get jabbed.

Health authorities want to vaccinate over 80% of the adult population before temperatures start dropping; however, the vaccination rate has sluggishly gone from 78.2% at the end of August to 79.8% on 11 September.

And 75.8% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.

A week earlier, the percentage of adults vaccinated with at least one dose stood at 79.4%.

Commenting on the slowing down of the vaccination rate, Dr Peter Karayiannis told the Financial Mirror that although it was expected nevertheless, authorities will have to work on convincing younger people to roll up their sleeves.

“We now have to convince the younger generations to get vaccinated, as they seem to be the group who are the most hesitant,” said Karayiannis.

He said cases would be halted once Cyprus vaccinates close to 85% of its adult population.

According to the ministry’s latest report, just 50.4% of teenagers aged between 18 – 19 have received one jab, while coverage for the age group 20 – 29 reached 62.1%.

A total of 72.4% of people aged 30-39 have received one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In the 16-17 age group, 39.1% received the first jab, and 31.9% completed their vaccination.

For children aged 12-15, a total of 23.3% received the first dose, and 11.1% are fully vaccinated.

Karayiannis, a virologist, said the coverage in older age groups had exceeded 80%.

People who received the first dose that is 80 and above is 98.3%, while for those aged 70-79, it’s 97.5%.

Between 60-69, coverage with the first dose totalled 89.5%; for 50-59, the figure reached 83.8%; for the 40-49 age group, it was 89%.

The government advisor also noted that some areas need more progress than others.

“On the one hand, you have Paphos, where more than 90% of its adult population has been vaccinated, and on the other Larnaca, which is struggling, with coverage still not reaching 75%”, said Karayiannis.

Paphos has the highest vaccination rate, with 90.7 per cent of the adult population getting at least the first jab, followed by Famagusta and Nicosia with 89.4 per cent and 79.1 per cent, respectively.

In Limassol, 78.3 per cent received at least the first dose, while in Larnaca, the figure is 74.2 per cent.

Karayiannis is optimistic the vaccination rate will pick once people finish with their holidays and children and young adults return to schools and universities.