Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas , Source: PIO

Cyprus greenlights booster jabs for medics and vulnerable groups

Cyprus greenlights booster jabs for medics and vulnerable groups

University classes may resume at two-thirds capacity with SafePass required

The Cypriot cabinet approved on Thursday administration of a third Covid vaccine dose to vulnerable groups of the general population and health professionals.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas explained that booster doses will be given to people over 65, residents of nursing homes, immunosuppressed persons regardless of age, and health professionals, provided that 6 months have elapsed since their second shots. Details about the procedure and vaccinations’ start date will be announced shortly.

University students back to school

The Council of Ministers also decided that academic institutions can reopen with classes operating at two-thirds of their capacity and SafePass required of students, academics and staff. Universities, as independent entities, are free to implement additional, stricter measures.

The rest of the existing measures will remain in place until 22 September when the Covid situation will be evaluated again.

Low mortality rate

“After two months in the red, the numbers show we are on the right track to stop the gallop of the deadly virus and its mutations,” the minister said as quoted by the government’s PIO. “The situation in public hospitals is very good and hospitalisations are constantly decreasing.”

Hadjipantelas added that thanks to everyone's efforts, the Health System was kept upright. This is evidenced by the very low mortality rate which assigns Cyprus the second-lowest position among the EU member states, after Finland. Safeguarding the health system and ensuring quality care “is not negotiable,” therefore the immunity wall against the virus has to be completed, he said.

The minister warned that any signs of complacency will be disastrous, recalling that lax personal protection actually drove infections and hospitalisations up this summer.

EMA’s recommendation

The government decision to greenlight a booster dose followed a statement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that additional doses should already be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems as part of their primary vaccination regimen.

It is important to distinguish between booster doses for people with normal immune systems and additional doses for those with weakened immune systems, EMA stipulated. And current evidence suggests there is no urgent need for booster jabbing fully vaccinated individuals in the general population, the agency said.

Based on a number of studies, EMA recommended administration of an additional vaccine dose to improve the immune response in immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients. Giving a third dose can also be considered, as a precautionary measure, to older frail individuals, especially those living in closed settings like care homes.  



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