In a symbolic act of support for Cyprus’ decision to administer the AstraZeneca jab to all ages, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou accompanied his mother on Tuesday to the Engomi vaccination centre where she got her first AstraZeneca shot.
Cyprus got its first batch of over 7,000 AstraZeneca jabs in early February, and is expected to receive some 70,000 by the end of the month.
The Health Ministry soon announced that as per the suggestion of the government’s health advisory committee, it adopted the recommendation issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the administration of the AstraZeneca jab without age restrictions, but this was soon met with friction by the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) which warned that there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to assure the efficacy of the jab on those aged over 65.
But in an interview with Kathimerini Cyprus’ Apostolos Tomaras, the president of CyMA and member of the government’s coronavirus advisory team Petros Agathangelou said the AstraZeneca jab is perfectly safe for those aged over 65.
Agathangelou clarified that CyMA’s warning was mainly related to the jab’s efficacy, but acknowledged that the island’s vaccination strategy must take into account the availability of vaccines and the need to safeguard the most vulnerable groups.
Athangelou also said that virus mutations are already being processed at vaccine production centers, noting that by autumn vaccines will be effective against the new strains regardless of age.
37 different virus mutations detected in Cyprus samples
Local media reported Wednesday that a study of 768 samples taken from people who tested positive for coronavirus in Cyprus found 37 different strains of the virus, including the UK strain.
The samples involved people who had tested positive between April 2020 and January 2021.
The study involved the participation of the University of Cyprus’ Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, NIPD Genetics, the Famagusta General Hospital, and the catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
The findings of the study were compared with data collected in other parts of the world that have been submitted to international data banks, so that the findings of the Cypriot researchers can be confirmed.
Further details on the findings of the study are expected during a press conference on Friday.