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ECDC to provide guidance to Cyprus regarding vaccination strategies for coming winter

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Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will advise Cyprus on the development of a vaccination strategy for this coming winter, Minister of Health Michael Hadjipantelas and ECDC Director Dr Andrea Ammon agreed in Brussels on Tuesday, on the margins of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting.

It was also agreed that the ECDC and the Ministry of Health will develop their cooperation regarding the prevention and treatment of nosocomial (originating in a hospital) infections.

On Wednesday, Hadjipantela is expected to meet French Renew MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, who is a member of the parliamentary committees on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) as well as the Special Committee on the Covid-19 pandemic (COVI). Hadjipantelas and Trillet-Lenoir will discuss issues related to the prevention and treatment of rare diseases.

Earlier on Tuesday, during the Council meeting, the EU’s Health Ministers exchanged views on cooperation between member states on rare diseases, as well as on the EU’s vaccination strategy and the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, including in solidarity with third countries.

In the context of the discussion on rare diseases, the Minister expressed Cyprus’ support for strengthening cooperation and coordination on rare diseases within the EU. He added that, based on the positive experience of European cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cyprus is convinced that European cooperation, including in the case of diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, will benefit patients, especially in small member states.

Regarding the future challenges for the EU strategy on vaccines at European and global levels, Hadjipantelas stressed the need for continued and enhanced coordination at European level in relation to expertise, particularly regarding the administration of booster doses.

The minister also underlined Cyprus’ support to the COVAX mechanism as the main platform for vaccine distribution worldwide, noting that the Cypriot government has already donated 145,300 doses of vaccines through this mechanism.

During the discussion on Ukraine, the Health Minister presented the actions that Cyprus has taken in support of the Ukrainian refugees in the country, including full and free access to health services.

After Brussels, the Health Minister will travel to Athens for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Greece on issues of surveillance and control of infectious diseases, as well as on cooperation in the design of strategic plans for infectious diseases, with particular emphasis on antimicrobial resistance and hospital-acquired infections.

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