More than one out of ten adults in Cyprus have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, unfazed by the high number of cases and deaths that reached 900 on the second anniversary of the pandemic.
Dr. Christos Petrou, government advisor on vaccinations, said that some 83,000 Cypriots over the age of 18, or around 11% of the adult population, have not taken a single COVID-19 shot.
In comments to CyBC state radio, Petrou said that it would appear that these people have made up their minds and will not be rolling up their sleeves for a coronavirus jab. He added that about 1,200 vaccinations are now being carried out every day, of which 1,000 are booster shots.
Asked about the effectiveness of vaccines, Petrou said that the mortality rate among vaccinated people is extremely low.
He said that the death rate for the unvaccinated is 80 people for every 100,000 unvaccinated, while for those who are fully vaccinated, the number decreases to 7.8 people.
Dr. Petrou noted, however, that despite the surge in cases in Europe, powered by the Omicron variant, the high rate of vaccination coverage has softened the blow on hospital admissions and deaths.
Quarter of all deaths in 2022
Petrou’s comments come as health authorities announced that the first two and a half months of the year accounted for more than a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths since the first case was identified on the island two years ago.
In the first 76 days of 2022 – from January 1 until Tuesday, March 15 – some 231 deaths were recorded out of a total of 904 occurring during the 757 days since March 2020.
So far, the first two weeks of March have seen 43 deaths. January this year was the deadliest with 101 deaths, with February recording 91. August last year held the record at the time with 80 deaths.
According to Health Ministry data, out of the 229 deaths in 2022, for which information is available, 35 were people who had received three shots of a COVID-19 vaccine, 15 of whom were over 80 years old.
Some 137 people did not have a vaccination history, of whom 134 (60%) were people over the age of 50, and 104 were over 70 years old.
A further 41 people had been partly vaccinated with one dose of a vaccine and nine had received both doses.
Overall, 79.45% of this year’s deaths involved people without a vaccination history, 27.4% had been partially vaccinated, 15.2% people had received two shots of a COVID vaccine and 7.8% involved people who had had a booster shot.