Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou is calling on COVID survivors in the Republic of Cyprus to get vaccinated, saying vaccines offer protection.
The Cypriot minister took to Twitter on Friday to reiterate his position that people who recovered from COVID-19 should still get vaccinated, citing extremely low figures based on official data.
“Data from contact tracing show that only 5% of cases are vaccinated with the first dose, and less than 1% vaccinated with two doses,” Ioannou wrote.
The minister was referring to 95% of known confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with the numbers emerging from official records of the health ministry about individuals known to have contracted the bug and survived.
The jury is still out on whether COVID survivors need to get vaccinated but evidence has shown that controlling the disease at the population level can be accomplished through vaccination
But the number of people who recovered from COVID-19 and presumably gained a level of immunity remained unknown in Cyprus, as there are no tests to prove immunity on large scale other than official records confirming infection and recovery through testing results.
Currently the jury is still out on whether there is a need to vaccinate people who had a documented COVID-19 infection, but evidence has shown that controlling the disease at the population level can be accomplished through vaccination.
Ioannou renewed his appeal to the public to get vaccinated.
“Vaccines protect. We are building immunity defenses,” Ioannou wrote.
The World Health Organization has said in a past FAQ page on its website that even if people already had COVID-19 they should be vaccinated when vaccines are offered to them.
“The protection that someone gains from having COVID-19 will vary from person to person, and we also don’t know how long natural immunity might last,” WHO says.
Antibody testing is currently not widely available in the Republic of Cyprus, while experts have also cautioned that “natural infection” and “vaccine induced” antibodies may be only detectable by separate antibody tests.
Health officials in the United States have cautioned the public over the use of antibody testing, saying the method should not be used for the sole purpose of determining immunity or protection against COVID-19.