NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus will start giving COVID-19 booster shots to people over 65, those with weakened immune systems irrespective of age and health care professionals, the health minister said Thursday.
Michalis Hadjipantela said the shots will be given to those who are eligible once a six-month period elapses from the time they completed their vaccination.
Earlier Thursday the European Union’s infectious diseases agency urged countries to push ahead with their primary vaccination programs and played down the need for booster shots.
Hadjipantela said expanding the booster shot program to include other age groups will depend on the recommendations of a medical advisory committee.
Cyprus has ample vaccine stocks to cover booster shot needs, Hadjipantela has told the Associated Press.
The east Mediterranean island nation follows countries such as France which on Wednesday became the first big EU country to start administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions. Spanish health authorities are considering similar action.
The delta variant has swept through Cyprus in recent weeks, pushing infection rates to their highest since the start of the pandemic. But the virus’ spread has abated and Hadjipantela said the health care system is holding up well as admissions appear to be dropping.
Official statistics show that as of the end of August 74.2% of Cyprus’ adult population was fully vaccinated, while 78.6% had received at least one shot.