The scientific committee of the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA), the professional organisation of doctors in Cyprus, called on the Health Ministry to re-evaluate its decision of allowing the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to the 65+ age groups, noting that there’s not enough scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness among these groups.
CyMA said Cyprus ought to make use of the years-long experience of other EU countries in the areas of immunology and vaccinology, and to adapt its vaccination strategy accordingly. So far, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Romania have all placed age limits on its use, recommending that it is only administered in younger adults.
The Republic received its first batch of 7,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, when health authorities announced that they took up the recommendation of the government’s coronavirus advisory committee as well as the recommendation issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the use of the specific jab on all age groups. The island is expected to receive 70,000 doses of the jab by the end of February.
CyMA stressed that both the efficacy and the safety of a vaccine should be ensured among every population category and age group.
The coronavirus vaccine developed in Britain by Oxford University and UK-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has suffered several setbacks since its development, with doubts currently heightening over its efficacy against new virus variants after South Africa suspended the start of its vaccination programme using the jab this week, following research that it had failed to prevent mild and moderate cases of the new mutation.
The jab was already on rocky terrain after several EU countries restricted its use to those aged under 65, citing efficacy concerns, despite approval from the EMA for all ages.
In Britain, Oxford University said Friday researchers had found that the vaccine had "similar efficacy" against a more contagious variant that first emerged in September and has become the dominant form of coronavirus across the UK.