A total of 7,500 vaccination slots will be made available early on Sunday for people belonging in specific vulnerable groups, the health ministry said on Saturday.

The vaccination portal will be open between 8am on Sunday and 8pm on Monday for nationwide appointments with Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Priority will be given to 7,200 Gesy registered patients as determined by the scientific advisory committee of the ministry and the ad hoc Committee for the prioritisation of vulnerable groups.

Scientific companies and the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) as well as local patients’ associations also contributed in the formation of the patients’ list, the ministry said.

Most requests by specialised doctors to include additional patients have been taken into account, the ministry said, while those not included will be vaccinated at a later stage.

The appointments concern people with:

  1. Severe Chronic Respiratory Disease
  2. Severe Chronic Kidney Disease
  3. Severe Heart Failure
  4. Severe Cardiovascular Disease
  5. Congenital heart disease after surgical correction with significant residual damage or uncorrected congenital heart disease with significant residual damage
  6. Hemoglobinopathies
  7. History of transplantation
  8. Immunodeficiency, oncological cases and haematological malignancies
  9. Quadriplegia – Neurological Diseases with impaired respiratory function
  10. Down Syndrome
  11. Patients receiving biological agents who have been approved upon a request to the Pharmaceutical Services.

Patients belonging in the above groups will receive a text message regarding their vaccination priority “provided that their contact details are complete and correct,” the announcement said.

According to the ministry, non-Gesy beneficiaries who receive medicines that fall into the specific categories privately, “will be given priority for vaccination, based on the above criteria,” following confirmation of their physician and after sending a request at [email protected].

A total of 183,225 vaccinations were completed as of April 9, with 52,288 people having received both doses of the coronavirus vaccines.

Included are 10,318 people belonging to vulnerable groups and 654 bed-bound people who received the first dose.

Covid vaccinations also started at the Nicosia central prison with 158 people receiving the first dose, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, public’s resistance against the AstraZeneca vaccine grew after the European Medicines Agency announced possible link to very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets this week.

This led to an increase in demand for the Pfizer shot, with 3,200 people aged 57 and 58 having booked an appointment within minutes after the opening of the vaccination portal at 8am on Saturday. Only 800 slots were booked for AstraZeneca within the first hour, the ministry said.

Following complaints from people who accessed the portal at 8am but failed to arrange a vaccination appointment with Pfizer, a reader told the Cyprus Mail that a general practitioner employed under the Gesy scheme had pre-booked 60 Pfizer vaccines for his patients.