Cyprus will administer booster shots to everyone aged 50, and over plus anyone with severe obesity, the cabinet decided on Thursday.
The government approved lowering the age limit for booster shots from 60 to 50, on the condition they have completed their initial vaccination scheme at least six months earlier.
The decision was taken following a proposal tabled by Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas.
The proposal approved also extends the existing COVID-19 measures – safe pass, social distancing, mask-wearing — against the spread of coronavirus to December 2.
“The Council of Ministers studied the recent epidemiological data and took into account the fact that the scientific community in Cyprus and internationally believes that shortly great care is needed to avoid a new outbreak,” the Health Ministry announced.
Hadjipantelas had told his fellow ministers that some EU countries have seen their epidemiological data worsen in recent weeks, forcing countries to reinstate restrictive measures.
His proposal for including people over the age of 50 in the booster rollout follows the recommendation of scientists advising the ministry on handling the coronavirus pandemic.
“The position that administration of the booster dose should be gradually extended to the general population is strengthened since it is observed that, after a certain period full vaccination, immunity decreases and there is a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine against disease and hospitalisation,” the ministry said.
Reportedly, nine scientists supported the proposal, while the other three were sceptical as many people over the age of 50 have not yet completed six months since their last shot.
Data indicates that immunity starts to wane after six to eight months in low-risk groups.
People suffering from severe obesity will also be eligible for a booster shot regardless of their age.
This concerns people whose BMI is over 40 or those with metabolic syndrome whose BMI is greater than 35.
Information as to how and when the new groups will get their booster shot will be announced soon.