NICOSIA -- With worries people will shy away from taking the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because of a handful of reports about rare blood clots, Cyprus’ Cabinet ministers were inoculated to show it’s safe.
That came as more countries paused using the vaccine until it’s determined not dangerous for certain age groups or what the cause was of the clots, some of which were fatal.
Eight ministers, two deputy ministers and three other senior officials received AstraZeneca shots at a vaccination center in the capital Nicosia, said the news agency Reuters of the campaign to win over skeptics.
“We want to send a strong message that what is important is the vaccination, and not the vaccine itself,” said Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who received a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in January.
Two other members of the cabinet had been inoculated previously based on their age although in Greece some four dozen politicians and appointed officials jumped the line to be first, also getting the Pfizer-BioNtech shot.
As did some EU countries, Cyprus temporarily halted AstraZeneca vaccinations in mid-March but resumed them after the European Medicines Agency said the benefits of the shot far outweighed the risks.
That hasn’t convinced many people waiting for their shots who were scrambling to get the Pfizer-BioNtech version or, where available, the version from the Massachusetts company Moderna.
At the present rate, Cyprus can expect to have vaccinated 70 percent of its population by the end of June, therefore acquiring herd immunity, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou also said.