Cabinet on Friday approved the administration of Covid booster shots to people aged 60 and over and to additional vulnerable groups of the population.

The decision preceded a proposal by Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas and a recommendation by the health ministry’s epidemiological team to lower the current age limit set at 65 for the administration of the third dose.

Cabinet also expanded the vulnerable groups eligible for a third dose to people of all ages with severe chronic respiratory, cardiovascular, kidney or liver disease, those with severe chronic neurological disease and diabetes as well as other endocrine diseases and hemoglobinopathies.

“The aim of the effort is to protect those groups of the population whose, immune response decreases over a period of time, based on scientific evidence,” the ministry’s announcement said.

It added that six months need to have passed between the second and third dose.

In addition to arranging appointments through the vaccination portal, beneficiaries will also be able to be served through the walk-in centres in all districts.

The exact starting date will be announced in the coming days, the ministry said.

The third dose was administered to 26,897 people, including health professionals, as of Thursday.

Meanwhile, a total of 81.5 per cent of the adult population received the first anti-coronavirus jab shot as of Wednesday, while 79 per cent completed their vaccination. Concerning minors, 41-5 per cent of teenagers aged 16 to 17 received the first dose and 38.8 per cent received both doses while 27.4 per cent of those aged 12 to 15 had the first dose and 24.6 per cent the second dose.