Covid-19 and flu jabs will be administered simultaneously from October 2 across existing vaccination centres, the health ministry announced on Friday.

It said those who wish to proceed with just the flu jab can get it at their GPs.

It added that the Covid-19 vaccination programme for the upcoming period will focus on protecting those aged 60 and above, along with other vulnerable groups – regardless of their age.

Health Minister Popi Kanari said that that 84.9 per cent of the population aged 60 and above in the EU received a first booster dose by August 2023.

She added that for the second booster dose it’s at 35 per cent while only four per cent of the population aged 60 received a third booster dose.

A health ministry official said that the vaccinations will be carried out by appointment, noting that the initial phase will focus on addressing groups more vulnerable to serious illness.

It was further stated that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) strategy also focuses on the most vulnerable.

In the case of the seasonal flu vaccine, the focus is also on healthy children and adolescents, as well as adult professionals, to reduce infectiousness.

The health ministry emphasised that Cyprus, as a member of the EU, has sufficient access to the latest Covid-19 vaccines in the quantities required to protect vulnerable groups – and to address the epidemiological evolution of the virus.

“In accordance with the ECDC and European Medicines Agency (EMA), regarding the update of the Covid-19 vaccine formulation, BioNTech-Pfizer has adapted the Covid-19 vaccine to target the Sars-CoV-2 Omicron XBB 1.5 strain, which is closely related to other currently circulating variants,” it added.

The ministry said that 70,000 doses will have been received by early October, with 158,400 expected overall.

It added that Cyprus has also ordered shipments of the Novavax jab which are to be delivered as soon as it receives approval from the EMA.

As for flu jabs, the ministry said existing contracts allow for 170,000 and that 30,000 are for the new Efluelda vaccine and will be given only to people over 70 years of age, according to the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee.