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Coronavirus: Rollout of third dose to start in nursing homes (update 2)

The rollout of the third dose of the anti-coronavirus vaccine started on Friday at nursing homes, after being given the green light by cabinet the previous day.

One hundred and sixty-two people living in nursing homes were expected to receive the jab on Friday.

In a post on Twitter President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the move: “We proceed to the 3rd vaccine dose for our vulnerable fellow citizens. Among the first countries in the world to do so. Stable in the battle against # COVID19”.

General Director of the ministry of health Christina Yiannaki told the Cyprus News Agency that the booster jab will be given to 90 people in Larnaca, 30 people in Nicosia and 42 in Paphos.

“We are rapidly moving forward, we want to help people and we also achieve the ministry’s goals regarding the vaccination programme,” Yiannaki said.

The cabinet decided on Thursday to start providing the third dose of the vaccine to people over 65 years of age, including residents in nursing homes, in addition to immunocompromised people regardless of age, as well as health professionals, given that a period of six months has passed since the completion of their vaccination.

Yiannaki also noted that to date the percentage of the population that has received the first jab amounts to 78.8 per cent, while 74.5 per cent have completed their vaccination programme.

At the same time, the number of people who have been vaccinated at the walk-in centres has risen to 47,000.

“Our goal was to reach 80 per cent by the end of August. We are currently at almost 79 per cent,” she added.

Following the administration in nursing homes, the third dose will also be administered in other facilities hosting vulnerable groups, deputy director of the Pharmaceutical Services at the ministry of health Elena Panayiotopoulou told CyBC earlier on Friday.

“The procedures for the other groups that will be given the third dose will also be accelerated,” she said.

According to Panayiotopoulou, people over 65 years of age will probably arrange the third dose through the vaccination portal.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said that only mRNA shots will be permitted for boosters.

“Those who have [previously] received the AstraZeneca vaccine will receive Pfizer,” he said.

Asked about those who have previously taken the J&J vaccine the minister said that there is no protocol just yet. But, he added, there is no need to worry as the first J&J jabs administered in Cyprus was back in April and as such their six months have not yet elapsed.

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