By June, over 60% of Cyprus’ adult population wishing to the coronavirus jab will be vaccinated, the deputy head of the state health services Dr Olga Kalakouta said.
In a written statement, Kalakouta said the island’s vaccination rollout is expected to pick up speed in April, when Cyprus is set to receive 270,000 more doses from the four vaccines authorised by the EU’s drugs regulator.
This figure, Kalakouta said, translates to 190,000 more people vaccinated with at least the first dose, raising the total number of people to get their first dose by early May to 310,000, signalling a coverage of vulnerable groups and the general population aged 45 and over.
She added that the second quarter will constitute a crucial moment for the island’s vaccination plan, since over 60% of the population is expected to get their first dose by the end of June. As time goes by, Kalakouta said, Cyprus will be receiving larger number of doses due to vaccine-developing companies’ improving ability to boost global production.
So far, Kalakouta said over 135,000 have gotten the jab, 93,475 of which involve people who still have to get the second dose, 36,000 fully vaccinated. ECDC figures show that 13% of the Republic’s population has received at least the first coronavirus dose, ranking the island’s vaccine rollout fifth among EU member states.
Kalakouta said that in early April, inoculations will also begin covering residents of closed centres such as prisons and migrant camps.
The vaccination centre operating at the Cyprus State Fair venue in Nicosia serves 1,400 people per day, state healthcare professional Maria Roka said, adding that 30-35 healthcare workers are currently employed there.
Roka noted the interest being shown in getting the jab, with numbers returning to normal after the slowdown brought about by the brief suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Meanwhile, Cyprus has been on edge after news emerged that around 50% of state hospital staff refused to get vaccinated. Healthcare professionals working with coronavirus patients were among the first in line for the vaccine.
The news broke after three nurses working at Makarios children’s hospital neonatal ICU tested positive for the virus, followed by a baby at the same hospital. State health services organisation (Okypy) spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said the nurses had opted out of getting vaccinated, noting that given that vaccines aren’t mandatory, not much could be done.