Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos received the AstraZeneca jab on Friday, becoming the first member of the government to be vaccinated against the coronavirus after President Nicos Anastasiades who kicked off the island’s vaccination roll-out late last year.
Koushos, who is 69, said that he had chosen the AstraZeneca vaccine as a vote of confidence in the specific vaccine a day after the European Medicines Agency said an in-depth review had shown it to be safe and effective and was not associated with an increase in blood clots.
“Because of age, I am the first member of the government to be vaccinated today. I have chosen to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, wishing to give a message to my fellow citizens,” he said on arrival.
Scientists, the health ministry, EU health bodies have assured that the AZ vaccine is effective, with high protection against the coronavirus and various variants, he said.
“I call on all fellow citizens not to have any hesitation, of course to follow the instructions of their personal doctors, and to trust our scientists and the health ministry,” he said.
Koushos said three vaccination days were lost after Cyprus joined other EU countries in pausing AZ vaccinations pending the EMA review but arrangements were being made to cover the lost time.
“The problem is not the time; the problem is the number of vaccines. You know that we will have increased deliveries this month, however we have delayed three days. This will be covered with rescheduling by the health ministry and there will be no further delays,” he said.
After his vaccination, Koushos said the procedure had been simple. “I hope there are no side effects but even if there are, we will deal with them. It is nothing serious, it could happen to anyone.”
Koushos said that he had been briefed about possible side effects adding that staying home was enough. “All fellow citizens, when it is their turn, must be vaccinated without any fears. It is a protection against the coronavirus, it something that will help us return to normality the soonest possible.”