Cyprus has ramped up its vaccination capacity to 14,000 jabs a day, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said Tuesday, as GPs were being recruited to administer jabs at their practices.
The minister tweeted that starting Wednesday, vaccination centres across the Republic would be able to administer 14,000 jabs per day with their operating times also extended on weekdays.
Meanwhile, reports said around 40 GPs have expressed interest to offer vaccinations to their patients, placing an order for around 4,000 AstraZeneca jabs.
Around 100,000 jabs have been administered so far in April.
The acting head of medical services Evagoras Tambouris said on Tuesday during a visit to the vaccination centre at Larnaca Port that last month, Cyprus averaged about 5,500 jabs a day.
On Monday, the number was 8,400 and is set to rise further amid increased public interest, he said.
The total number of people vaccinated in Larnaca since the start of the roll-out at the end of 2020 is 35,000, he added.
In view of the accelerated delivery of vaccines, the 1,500 jabs a day capacity vaccination centre operates until 4.00 pm and plans are underway to add further hours.
Currently in its third lockdown since the start of the pandemic, Cyprus aims to administer jabs to 65 per cent of the population by late June in pursuit of herd immunity.
The vaccination portal has been moving swiftly down the age groups and should be available for people aged 35 a little after the Easter holidays, Tambouris said.
Officials are also pressing ahead with plans to vaccinate frontline workers such as personnel at airports and ports. Also planned are vaccination drives in the army and for other groups such as hotel staff.
“We urge the public to book their appointments and come for their vaccination. According to the health ministry’s plans, after Easter the vaccinations will move down to 35-year-olds. Today people aged 43-44 are being vaccinated while today people aged 42 have booked appointments through the portal,” he said.
At the same time, older people whose age group has also opened on the portal are being vaccinated.
The Larnaca port vaccination centre was on Tuesday due to administer 1,300 jabs to eligible age groups as well as 200 second doses to members of vulnerable groups. It currently operates eight vaccination spots, has a capacity for 10 and there are plans for further expansion to meet demand as more deliveries as shipped here.
Authorities have received requests to vaccinate groups in essential services as well as those who will work during the parliamentary elections and bookings for such vaccinations outside the portal procedure have started.
“These are people who will work in the parliamentary elections, employees at airports and ports as well as certain groups who work in places where there is an increased risk of becoming infected with coronavirus and must be vaccinated.”
Moreover, authorities will cater for any other groups which apply to join the procedure for appointments to be booked by telephone such as those who are not part of Gesy, he added.
Asked about people working in the tourism sector, Tambouris said a plan was being drawn up to start vaccinating the army, police and hotel employees.
He was also asked to comment about complaints from members of the public who had booked a specific vaccine only to be offered a different one when they turned up for their appointment.
One of those complaining was a CyBC journalist who had driven to Kyperounda Hospital for a Pfizer jab on Tuesday but was told on arrival that the centre was administering AstraZeneca vaccines.
Tambouris said the programming of the type of vaccine at each centre was done by the health ministry and what may have happened was that in their haste to book a slot for a specific vaccine, members of the public may have forgotten where it was being offered and booked somewhere else or on a different day.
Health visitors, doctors and nurses cannot change the vaccine offered at each centre nor is it possible that the centre is distributed a different vaccine than that scheduled, he clarified.
Members of the public who may have made a mistake regarding the vaccine they have booked or the day or district they made their appointment should telephone 1474 and cancel it and book a new appointment on the portal.
The portal will open soon for older age groups who had problems with the platform and were unable to make an appointment, he concluded.