COVI19: Third booster roll-out ready

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Health authorities will roll out a third booster shot campaign for COVID-19 on Thursday, offering the updated bivalent vaccines covering the original virus, the Omicron variant and its subvariants.

From Thursday, people who have had their second booster shot at least five months ago are advised to come forward for another jab with one of the updated vaccines.

The ministry said beneficiaries could choose between two bivalent booster shots, developed by Moderna and Pfizer.

It said the Moderna shot covers the original virus strain and the Omicron variant (BA1).

On the other hand, the Pfizer vaccine covers the original strain and Omicron’s subvariants BA4 and BA5.

Administering the second booster, using bivalent vaccines, is ongoing for the general population aged 30 and above.

Bivalent booster shots are available to people aged 30 and over, people working in healthcare and closed structures, such as nursing homes, regardless of age, and pregnant women.

It is also administered to people with chronic ailments such as severe heart and vascular disease, kidney, liver and neurological diseases.

People over 12 years with diabetes mellitus, severe obesity and metabolic syndrome are eligible for an updated shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Five months have passed since the third dose.

Health experts have expressed concerns over complacency, urging authorities to step up their vaccination awareness campaigns.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), pneumologist Dr Charis Armeftis said the population coverage of the second booster shot is low, noting that vulnerable groups are in danger.

“The epidemiological situation may be under control, but we don’t know what lays ahead,” said Dr Armeftis.

“People are not coming forward to get vaccinated, not because they have lost trust in the vaccines, but because they feel the pandemic is over.

“An awareness campaign would definitely boost coverage”.

An increase in vaccinations and the arrival of new antiviral medication for COVID-19 will help authorities keep hospitalisations to a minimum.

Receiving a third or fourth dose is optional.

People wanting to get a booster shot can visit a walk-in centre:

Nicosia: State Fair (8 am – 2:30 pm)

Larnaca: Larnaca Old Hospital (8 am – 2:30 pm)

Limassol: Linopetra Health Centre (8 am – 2:30 pm)

Paphos: Paphos General Hospital (8 am – 2:30 pm)

Famagusta: Famagusta Health Centre (8 am – 2:30 pm)

Kyperounda: Kyperounda Vaccination Centre (former SPE) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (9:30 am – 1:30 pm)

Polis Chrysochous: Polis Chrysochous Hospital, every Tuesday (9:30 am – 1.30 pm)