A press conference was held today by Dr. Christina Giannaki, General Director of the Ministry of Health, regarding covid vaccinations for children ages 5-11.
After thanking the representatives of the Media for their efforts to inform citizens about the pandemic, Dr. Giannaki referred to the great work done by health officials and professionals and their tireless endeavors over the past 20 months.
During the press conference, Dr. Giannaki announced that the National Vaccination Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health had unanimously agreed that children aged 5-11 should be vaccinated with the Corminaty vaccine to ward against coronavirus disease.
According to the Committee, they took into account the direct and indirect effects on the health and well-being of children of this category from COVID-19 and agreed that the benefits outweigh the risks since the effectiveness of the vaccine to prevent symptomatic disease, based on a study, is 90.7%. As for the side effects, she noted that they were mild to moderate, transient and similar to other age groups.
Dr. Giannaki informed the media that a plan had already been initiated to begin vaccinations in Maternity and Child Welfare Centers (See hours of operation and contact numbers below) in all provinces within the next few days, adding that these Centers are specially designed for children only, in order to give them and their parents easy access. The first batch of vaccines are scheduled to arrive on December 13. Appointments may be scheduled after that date.
Referring to the increasing trend in the number of cases, Dr. Giannaki said that about 30% of the total number of cases in recent weeks concerns minors, specifically in the age group of 5-11 years, where cases have the highest numbers compared to other ages of children.
Based on these data, Dr. Giannaki stressed that for the Ministry of Health, increasing the vaccination rate is a key parameter in dealing with and managing the pandemic. The rapidly increasing number of cases is putting more and more pressure on our hospitals and healthcare workers. "Vaccines have worked and are proving their potential every day, as a powerful shield and a key tool in stopping the pandemic."
Citing statistics from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC, Dr. Giannaki stated that the higher the vaccination rate, the lower the number of deaths from COVID-19, stating that Cyprus, with 80% vaccinated in the total adult population, had 5 deaths from COVID-19 in a million population and that according to ECDC data, vaccination of children aged 5-11 years could reduce the transmission of the disease in the entire population, as the impact of vaccination of children is stronger in countries with a higher rate of vaccination in adults.
In closing, Dr. Giannaki referred to the mutated strain Omicron, stressing that despite the differences observed, the effectiveness of the vaccines according to the World Health Organization is still valid, with preliminary laboratory studies showing that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNerTech vaccine are effective.
Viruses, she said, evolve where their conditions allow, with their evolutionary process being completely natural and their mutations being nothing more than confirming their appearance and adaptation to the environment. Therefore, she stressed, "there is no room for oligarchy, only vigilance. I repeat, get vaccinated".