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Cyprus

Pensioners say poor distribution makes it difficult for the elderly to access flu jabs

The pensioners’ union Ekysy has urged the health ministry to improve the distribution of flu vaccines saying it is difficult for many older people to take advantage of the vaccination programme.

“The fact that vaccinations are only given out at two designated centres per district is unacceptable,” the union said in a letter sent to the ministry on Wednesday.

“This situation is causing a great deal of trouble and discomfort for the elderly. The government has the duty to assist the elderly, with particular regard to the people in retirement homes.”

Ekysy recommended that vaccinations are delivered not only to the designated centres, but also to community hospitals and general practitioners.

The health ministry released a statement on Wednesday saying there are no more appointment slots available for vaccinations for the time being and has advised citizens not to call for appointments until otherwise instructed.

The first batch of 10,000 flu vaccines was received on October 14 and the second batch on November 4.

The remaining 53,000 vaccines will be delivered in the coming weeks and the process will be completed by mid-November, the ministry said.

In line with the current programme, seasonal flu vaccination is prioritised for vulnerable groups.

These include people aged 65 and over, children older than six months, adults with chronic respiratory diseases and chronic cardiovascular disease.

High-risk groups also include pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, people in close contact with children younger than six months and those working closely with animals and farm work.

To receive the vaccine, the over-65s must provide proof of identity. Those under 65 must bring proof of their relevant medical condition.

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