The first doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive in Cyprus this week, by Wednesday at the latest, the health ministry said on Monday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear how many initial Moderna doses will arrive, but local media cited sources as saying that they numbered 1,200.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said last week that 16,000 for Cyprus are expected by Moderna within the next 30 days and noted that Cyprus receives 6,800 doses per week from Pfizer.

It is understood that 16,000 Moderna doses in total will be delivered during Q1.

Moderna was the second Covid-19 vaccine to win regulatory approval in Europe, as it received the green light last Wednesday.

Moderna’s vaccine is likely to offer protection of up to a couple of years, its chief executive has previously said, even though more data is still needed to make a definitive assessment.

“The nightmare scenario that was described in the media in the spring with a vaccine only working a month or two is, I think, out of the window,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said at an event organised by financial services group Oddo BHF.

“The antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans goes down very slowly (…) We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years.”

Reuters reported that Germany has secured 50 million doses, or almost a third of the Moderna shots booked so far by the EU, despite having a population of less than 20 per cent of the EU’s total.

The first batch of the Pfizer Covid-19 mRNA vaccine arrived in Cyprus on December 26 at the same time it was being delivered across the EU.

President Nicos Anastasiades was vaccinated shortly after and said afterwards that: “The countdown to the defeat of the so-called invisible enemy has begun… but there is a long way to go and the public must abide by the measures.”