COVID19: Updated fourth jab rollout

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Authorities will roll out a second booster shot against COVID-19 next week for everyone over 30 with updated vaccines, covering Omicron, said the Health Ministry Friday.

The rollout will be launched once the recommendations of the Vaccination Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health are approved by the cabinet next week.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Health Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Athanasiou said authorities on Monday received 43,000 doses of an updated vaccine from Pfizer.

Athanasiou explained the new Pfizer shot covers the initial COVID virus and the Omicron variant.

“Once the European Medicine Agency approves the updated vaccine, covering Omicron’s subvariants BA4 and BA5, we will receive our share from the European Union’s batch”.

EMA is in the process of approving an updated vaccine manufactured by Moderna, covering Omicron’s subvariants BA4 and BA5.

Athanasiou conveyed health experts’ assurance to the public that all updated vaccines, whether designed for the Omicron variant or its subvariants, offer enhanced protection against COVID-19.

“By the end of the month, we should have a total of 173,000 updated vaccines in our reserves”.

The ministry’s advisors recommended that all people over 30 get boosted with the 4th dose of updated vaccines against COVID-19.

The recommendation also covers people who belong to special population groups regardless of age.

Also recommended is vaccination, with a third dose for those aged 12 and over.

The National Vaccination Advisory Committee met on Thursday to evaluate the new recommendations of the EMA, ECDC, the World Health Organisation and pharmaceutical companies regarding the updated, adapted vaccines against COVID- 19.

The team of experts pointed out that protection against infection, especially mild disease, wanes approximately six months after the initial vaccination.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, most admissions of patients with COVID-19 occur in unvaccinated people.

“Therefore, the original vaccines for COVID-19 still provide protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death and will be used for primary vaccinations,” said the committee.