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Ministry says Covid is here to stay

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

Covid is here to stay, much like the flu, and the public needs to understand that Covid vaccinations must be administered every year, medical services director Elisavet Constantinou said on Monday.

Her comments on CyBC’s morning show came amid reduced interest and uptake for Covid vaccinations, which she said must be viewed in the same way as flu shots – which are taken by vulnerable groups every year.

Later in the day, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela echoed her message by stating that the purpose is not to reintroduce strict measures but neither for complacency to prevail.

“The situation at the moment is not worrisome but we shouldn’t wait until it does become concerning to go and get vaccinated,” he said, conceding that the latest update is low.

He said in the coming days a vaccination campaign will take place in the mountainous communities, along with another push to inform the public as to who is eligible for the fifth Covid shot.

The health minister added that there are thoughts to administer both the Covid shot and the flu jab together, with the latter having a much higher uptake – with about 75,000 having been taken since October.

As for the Covid advisory meetings, Hadjipantela said that they will proceed with what was decided at last week’s meeting – but did not provide details – and will see from there where the numbers take us.

Constantinou also said that two new Covid mutations have been identified in Cyprus but said they are not yet dominant.

Earlier in October, the health ministry said that the fifth Covid jab is available, provided that five months have passed since the previous shot.

Meanwhile, for those opting for a specific vaccine make, the Moderna vaccine (BA.1) is available every Tuesday and Thursday, while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (BA.4 and BA.5) is available daily from Monday to Friday.

To receive the vaccination, members of the public must present identification document (ID card, passport) and a vaccination card, for health professionals – a license to practice, a medical certificate (from staff or a specialist doctor) for immunocompromised and immunosuppressed patients, as well as from individuals with chronic serious illnesses or obesity.

 

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