As the AstraZeneca vaccine is different from the other two – Pfizer and Moderna – already being used, the health ministry will in future inform people in advance which vaccine will be given to them, the ministry announced on Wednesday.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines operate on an RNA level, issuing instructions to the body to produce the coronavirus spike protein. The other vaccines on the market work on the basis of ‘traditional’ innoculation.

The ministry together with the deputy ministry of research, innovation and digital policy is working on ways to let people know which jab they will get, through the electronic portal when arranging an appointment.

“More details will be announced when the process is finalised,” the announcement said.

In its statement, the ministry reiterated its position regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine as public debate questions its effectiveness, especially for people aged 55 and over.

Following the decision of some EU member states to impose an age restriction, the ministry said the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU authority for the authorisation of medicinal products, which are examined and approved by representatives of all 27 EU member states on the basis of purely scientific criteria and data, approved the release of the vaccine on January 29.

“In its deliberation, the EMA did not set restrictions or contraindications for the vaccine to be given to specific age groups,” the ministry noted.

In accordance with this, the advisory scientific committee suggested to the health ministry to administer the vaccine to all age groups.

“The ministry of health and the scientific advisory committee are closely monitoring any developments that may occur at European and international level in order to assess any issues that may arise,” the announcement concluded.

The medical association (CyMA), however, said that the AstraZeneca vaccine ought to be administered only to people under 65 citing “lack of strong scientific evidence for its effectiveness in people over 65.”

“In a country with a relatively small population, such as Cyprus, we can tackle the problems of virus transmission and future mutations so as to benefit both the population and especially the vulnerable age groups and beyond,” CyMA said in a written statement.