Cyprus will roll out a vaccination program for children aged five to eleven next week, announced the Health Ministry’s permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki.
Presenting the ministry’s vaccination program, Yiannaki said the authorities would be receiving the first batch of Pfizer vaccines for children on Monday.
The vaccines are designed for children under 12, administered at maternity protection and child welfare centres across the Republic after the appointment.
The Pfizer vaccines for children have a smaller dosage than those administered to people over 12.
“Studies showed they are 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 amongst children,” Yiannaki said.
She reassured the public that vaccines were safe and that child vaccines have similar side effects with their adult versions and are usually mild or moderate and improve within days.
Yiannaki said a surge in infections among children had been recorded recently. Young children and teenagers make up for one-third of recent cases.
“Around 30% of total infections in recent weeks concern children aged zero to 18, between October 4, and December 5, the number of infections has risen in all age groups, especially the five to 11, where they rose ninefold”.
Yiannaki said increasing the vaccination rates was a key parameter in tackling the pandemic.
According to ministry data, 85.2% of the island’s adult population has received a COVID vaccine, while 81.5% have completed their initial vaccination regime.
Just over 66% of those eligible have had their booster shot.
Booster shots are now available to all adults, provided that they completed their initial vaccination regime at least six months earlier.
When it comes to underaged teenagers and children, 49.2% of the 16 to 17 group have had at least one shot, while 42.8% has been fully vaccinated.
And 37.4% of teenagers between 12 and 15 have been jabbed, and 29.6% are fully vaccinated.
The Health Ministry also announced on Friday the online vaccination portal will now cater to people who were initially vaccinated with a single-dose Johnson&Johnson vaccine and want to take another J&J jab as a booster.
Up until now, people wanting a second J&J shot could only get one at walk-in vaccination centres.
People who were originally vaccinated with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine have the opportunity to choose between the same vaccine, a Pfizer-BioNTech, or Moderna shot for their second dose.