A drop in new daily coronavirus cases has also brought about a decreasing number of patients needing hospitalisation, however, their average age is rising.
Amalia Hadjiyianni, scientific director of Famagusta General, the Covid-19 referral hospital, said that while the drop in patients is welcomed, experts are concerned over the rising average age of patients.
“The past few days we have seen a decline in infections, which has translated into fewer hospital admissions. However, the average age of patients is rising,” Hadjiyianni told the Cyprus News Agency.
She was talking to reporters during a visit to the hospital’s walk-in vaccination centre, which is currently administrating COVID-19 booster shots to people in the area who are over 86.
Hadjiyianni said the average age for hospital admissions has started to climb, noting that this is partly attributed to the protection offered by the vaccines gradually waning over time.
The majority of people over 86 were amongst the first to get vaccinated, who had completed their vaccination scheme earlier in December and January.
Hadjiyianni told CAN that 20 patients are currently being treated for coronavirus at the Famagusta reference hospital, of whom six are in the acute care unit.
“The youngest patient is 43 and the oldest 91, with an average age of 66. Around 74% of the patients are unvaccinated,” she said.
She said booster vaccinations were being administered out at a satisfactory pace, urging members of the public who haven’t booked theirs to do so before the winter months.
Hadjyianni added that everyone, vaccinated or not, should continue applying personal protection measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Health authorities launched a third round of vaccinations earlier last week, for elderly people and healthcare professionals who were the first to complete their vaccination scheme, over six months ago.
So far, residents and staff at nursing homes have been vaccinated, with health authorities moving on to people over the age of 86 this week and health professionals in private hospitals.
475 elderly get booster shot
Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou told reporters that a total of 475 people over 86 had received booster shots by Wednesday afternoon.
Another 569 health professionals working in the private sector were also given a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The numbers do not include health professionals and those living in nursing homes or belonging to vulnerable groups, Kyriacou said.
According a recent update by the health ministry, not including Wednesday’s figures, some 2,793 people have been vaccinated with the third dose, including 1,752 living in nursing homes, 510 health professionals in state hospitals, and 531 people belonging to vulnerable groups who have priority.
The ministry said that following the group of 86 and older, younger age groups will be called for a booster shot depending on interest and vaccine availability.
So far, the health ministry said that they would be vaccinating only people over 65 and healthcare workers who were vaccinated at least six months earlier.
People belonging to vulnerable groups can receive a booster jab four weeks after the completion of their initial vaccination scheme.
The decision to vaccinate people over 65 and vulnerable groups comes after studies have shown that immunity levels of the elderly can start to wane five months after their second shot.
And the European Medicines Agency said additional doses should already be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems as part of their primary vaccination.