The cabinet on Wednesday approved the health ministry’s recommendation to proceed with the new ‘bivalent’ Covid vaccines as booster doses for those aged 12 and above.

The booster (third dose) will be available provided that five months have passed since a second dose. The ministry highlighted that the validity of the SafePass will not be impacted by a person not proceeding with the latest shot.

They will be available as a second booster (fourth dose) for those aged 30 and above, those working in care homes, healthcare workers and pregnant women, all regardless of age.

The second booster is also available to those age 12 and above who have certain health conditions and five months have passed since their third dose. They are those with: diabetes, the obese with a BMI of 40 or BMI of 35 if accompanied with a metabolic issue, those with severe chronic heart and vascular issues, severe chronic kidney issues, as well as for liver and neurological conditions. The immunosuppressed and those with haemoglobinopathies are also eligible in this category.

Also included are those with HIV/Aids infections, hereditary immunodeficiency, and those who have undergone organ transplants and are receiving immunosuppressive therapy.

The ministry again stated that those who do not proceed with their booster in this category will not have the validity of their SafePass downgraded.

The government explained that the decision was made after the vaccination committee reviewed the reports from the EMA, ECDC, WHO and other major health bodies.

More details will be announced in the coming days.

Cyprus has so far received 43,000 of the updated vaccines with 240,000 expected by the end of September, health ministry communications advisor Constantinos Athanasiou told the Cyprus Mail last week.

The UK was the first country to first approve the ‘bivalent’ vaccine in mid-August. Moderna’s latest vaccine, Spikevax, aims to tackle both the original strain, first identified in Wuhan in 2019, and the first Omicron variant (BA.1).

Experts have said that the original vaccines continue to offer strong protection against becoming severely ill or dying from Covid, but the latest vaccines are adapted to tackle the virus as it changes.