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Fifth Covid shot being considered (Update)

healthcare worker administers the coronavirus disease (covid 19) vaccine to a woman, in johannesburg

A fifth Covid vaccine dose could be available by the end of October, while the cabinet just under two weeks ago approved the new bivalent jabs for fourth shots.

Medical services director Elisavet Constantinou told CyBC radio on Monday morning that each day about 220 people on average were having the bivalent vaccine as a booster.

As for the possibility of a third booster (fifth shot), Constantinou said that there was a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency for this and it was being evaluated by the national vaccination committee.

It could be approved by the end of October, she said.

Her deputy, Evagoras Tambouris, said later in the day that since September 20 – when the rollout of the fourth dose began – a total of 1,119 people received the shot. On Monday, by 1pm, 279 received the fourth dose.

He acknowledged that uptake was relatively low compared to previous rollouts but expected the figures to increase, noting that it was still summer, however conceding that it would probably remain below other campaigns.

Constantinou reiterated that those aged 30 and above will from Monday also be eligible for a second booster. That also applies to all those living or working with vulnerable persons, for pregnant women and others who are at heightened risk.

The original vaccination programme involved a two-dose regimen, while certain groups were subsequently offered a booster dose (third shot). At various points, different age groups and parts of the population with underlying health conditions were offered boosters first.

The health ministry has previously said that it was set to receive about 300,000 bivalent Covid shots, which will be offered as boosters.

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

Meanwhile, the latest seasonal flu jabs are expected to arrive by this week, with Cyprus set to receive 170,000 doses. Constantinou said the vaccines will be administered by GPs within the first week of October.

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