COVID19: Cyprus mulls booster shots for everyone

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Health authorities are looking to widen its COVID-19 booster shot roll out to everyone over 18 who have completed their initial vaccination at least six months earlier.

A Health Ministry official confirmed to the Financial Mirror that it is considering lowering the limit for a third COVID vaccine shot to 18, with a relative proposal to be tabled before the cabinet next week.

“The proposal (for reducing the age limit to 18) is on the table, but we would like to hear what the scientists have to say before bringing it before the cabinet,” said the ministry official.

Currently, only people over 50 are eligible for a booster shot or belong to certain vulnerable groups.

The Ministry of Health favours removing the age limit for adult booster shots instead of gradually reducing it.

However, some scientists advising the government on handling coronavirus disagree with such a move.

According to leaked information, scientists disagree with the philosophy behind the vaccination programme, which has seemingly shifted towards enhancing immunity among already vaccinated people rather than trying to convince the unvaccinated to get jabbed.

They argue that some age groups have a low coverage rate, such as those under 40, where vaccination rates do not exceed 73%.

According to an update from the Health Ministry, 73% of those aged 30 to 39 have been fully vaccinated, while the rate drops to 63% for people in their 20s.

Some 26.8% of children between 12 and 15 and 40.7% of teenagers aged 16 and 17 are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the majority of people eligible for a third dose have not yet come forward.

Some 57.8% of people over 80 have received a booster shot, but only 23.3% over 70 and 13% of over 60 have turned up for the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

And 4% aged over 50 have received a booster shot.

According to a recent update from the ministry, 80% of adults are fully vaccinated; however, 66.6% of the total population have received both jabs.