COVID19: EU to guide Cyprus on winter vaccination strategies

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will guide Cyprus to develop a COVID vaccination strategy for the country’s population next winter, said Health Minister Health Michael Hadjipantela.

He met ECDC Director Dr Andrea Ammon during a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday on the margins of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.

It was also agreed that the ECDC and the Ministry of Health would develop their cooperation to prevent and treat nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections.

During the Council meeting, EU Health Ministers exchanged views on cooperation between member states on rare diseases, the EU’s vaccination strategy and the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, including solidarity with third countries.

In the context of the discussion on rare diseases, the Minister expressed Cyprus` support for strengthening cooperation and coordination on rare diseases within the EU.

He added that, based on the positive experience of European cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyprus is convinced that European cooperation, including diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, will benefit patients, especially in small member states.

Regarding the future challenges for the EU strategy on vaccines, Hadjipantela stressed the need for continued and enhanced coordination at the European level concerning expertise, particularly the administration of booster doses.

The Minister also underlined Cyprus’ support for the COVAX mechanism as the main platform for worldwide vaccine distribution, noting that Nicosia has already donated 145,300 vaccine doses.

During the discussion on Ukraine, the Health Minister presented the actions that Cyprus has taken to support the 15,000 Ukrainian refugees in the country, including full and free access to health services.