EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on Friday visited the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (Cing) with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas, where she learned about the institute’s work and briefed officials on the EU’s current pandemic issues and the European Commission’s plans for future developments in healthcare.
Kyriakides said that 73.4 per cent of European adults have been vaccinated against Covid-19, saying that the commission has secured two billion more doses of the vaccine to ensure all member states are up to speed with their vaccination programmes.
With schools and universities reopening, and the seasons changing, she stressed that there should be no complacency surrounding Covid, even if the Delta variant surge is dying down and cases and hospitalisations are stabilising.
She added that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to publish its much-anticipated decisions surrounding booster shots in the next three weeks.
On the subject of vaccines for minors between 12 and 17, she said that since they have been approved, individual member states can make their own decisions.
At the same time, she said that the commission is now moving forward with new therapeutic strategies “based on European solidarity”. Contracts have been signed with drugmakers Roche, Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, whose Covid treatments will become available for member states to order once they are approved by the EMA.
Kyriakides assured there will be equal access to the treatments if they are approved, but stressed they should not be seen as alternatives to vaccines.
On the contrary, she said that member states should speed up vaccinations as they are “our shield against coronavirus”.
The commissioner said her visit to Cing was very constructive, as she was briefed about the institute’s Covid research both on a diagnostic and research level, which also covers variants.