EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides on Thursday praised the government’s initiative to introduce walk-in vaccination centres, calling it an “excellent idea”.
The Commissioner visited the Ayia Napa walk-in centre after touring the Covid-19 reference hospital in Paralimni.
She said the walk-ins were “an excellent idea which is being successfully implemented in Cyprus for all those who want to get vaccinated immediately and without requiring registration in advance.”
So far around 8,000 people have been vaccinated at the walk-ins with the government announcing that these centres would, from next week, also accommodate people who are non-Gesy beneficiaries.
Earlier, the Commissioner visited the reference hospital to say “a big thank you” to all the staff there. Escorted by the health ministry’s permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki and Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pyrillis, Kyriakides was briefed about the situation at the hospital.
According to Yiannaki, 1,761 patients with Covid-19 were treated at the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. It is currently treating 68 people, six of whom are in the high dependency unit. She said that around 73 per cent of the population has received at least the first dose of a vaccine while 64 per cent has completed their vaccination regimen. The goal is to now reach 80 per cent by the end of August.
Kyriakides, who, earlier in the day had a meeting with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas, said that as of this week the Delta variant is dominant in all EU member states stressing there should be no complacency.
Stressing the importance of vaccinations, she said more than 70 per cent of the EU adult population has received at least the first dose of a vaccine and 57 per cent both doses.
“Vaccinations are not only aimed at protecting ourselves, those around us and our families but also the staff of hospitals who fight daily for us,” she said.
Kyriakides said that based on what she was told, the majority of Covid patients being treated at the reference hospital are people who have not been vaccinated or who have only received the first dose.
Regarding the Delta variant, she said it is transmitted much more easily and affects younger people. “Being young does not mean that you will not get seriously ill and will not need hospitalisation,” Kyriakides said. “All the vaccines we have are effective against the mutation when there is full vaccination.”
“That is why it is very important that we all proceed with the vaccinations and at the same time, until we reach the coverage that we need, continue observe other protective measures,” she said.
Kyriakides also said that the European Commission was proceeding with its new strategy on Covid-19 Therapeutics, “so that by October we have approved four effective treatment regimens.”
The EU vaccines strategy, she said, has shown that together the member states are stronger and together they will continue also on issues concerning treatments.