In moves to boost the vaccination programme, preparations are underway to enable all adult Gesy beneficiaries regardless of age to book an appointment for an AstraZeneca vaccine on the portal on pre-assigned days, officials said on Thursday.
The total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered across the island has surpassed 400,000,. And 41.3 per cent of those eligible having already received the first dose as of May 12, bringing Cyprus closer to achieving its target of covering 60 per cent of the adult population by the end of June.
To speed up the process, the Deputy Minister of Innovation Kyriacos Kokkinos told the media that changes to the vaccination portal will give the opportunity to adults of all age groups to book appointments, but only with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
So far, appointments are being made available for specific age groups through the vaccination portal offering all available makes of vaccines.
Under the new system, the portal will open on pre-determined days offering AZ vaccines to all adults, or much wider age groups, he said.
“The flow of deliveries for the other vaccines is smaller,” which is why the specific coronavirus jab was chosen to be made available, Kokkinos said.
Meanwhile, some 254 personal doctors have also taken delivery of 23,080 doses of AstraZeneca and have so far administered 7,000 doses to people aged 30 and over who wished to get vaccinated, the health ministry said.
Starting Thursday, Gesy beneficiaries aged 20 and over will be able to receive AstraZeneca from their GP, in parallel with the booking of vaccine appointments through the vaccination portal.
The change followed a health ministry announcement on Thursday, saying young people are currently the focus of the national vaccination plan.
People aged 20 to 29, “express a strong interest in being vaccinated,” the announcement said, “which shows that they understand and comprehend that only through vaccination we will we be able to take our lives back and return to normality as soon as possible”.
On Friday, the portal is scheduled to open for those aged 20 to 24 to book for all available vaccines, while older age groups will also have the chance to book appointments again soon, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to include pharmacists in the vaccination process, according to unofficial reports, amidst technical issues with the vaccination portal.
The portal was closed on Thursday for updates following small interruptions in the online booking of appointments this week.
The interruptions at the portal resulted in problems in the software of the national health scheme (Gesy), affecting the work of doctors and pharmacists nationwide.
The deputy minister said that attempts are being made to “fully disconnect [the software] so if one system has a problem to not affect the other one”.
Another important addition in the works is the inclusion of the vaccination certificate, currently a physical copy, in the online Gesy beneficiaries’ record, Kokkinos added.