To improve its coronavirus vaccination coverage, Cyprus has decided to administer booster shots to its adult population aged 18 and above.
Anyone over 18 can get a booster provided they completed their initial vaccination scheme six months earlier.
The cabinet rubber-stamped the decision on Monday, after a spike in new daily cases and an increase in hospitalisations.
The Health Ministry said the cabinet had approved the proposal submitted following a recommendation by the recently formed vaccination advisory body.
More information regarding the rollout of the booster dose will be announced in the coming days.
Health authorities contained a surge in cases to the low hundreds from a peak of 1,152 daily infections, mainly thanks to its high vaccination rate, with 80% of the adult population receiving a COVID-19 jab.
But the vaccination drive has struggled to move forward after reaching 80%.
Authorities successfully brought cases down to the low hundreds in early autumn, but a recent uptick in cases has everyone on the alert.
In early September, Cyprus rolled out its booster shot scheme for people residing in nursing homes and healthcare workers to prevent a new wave of infections as immunity wanes in older groups.
Since then, authorities have pushed the age limit down regularly, including more vulnerable groups along the way.
Currently, booster shots are administrated to anyone over the age of 50, the severely obese, people with diabetes and those who are immune-compromised.
However, so far, the majority of people eligible for a third dose have not come forward.
According to Health Ministry data, 57.8% of people over 80 have received a booster shot, but only 23.3% over 70 and 13% of over 60 have turned up for the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
And 4% aged over 50 have received a booster shot.
According to a recent update from the ministry, 80% of adults are fully vaccinated; but only 66.6% of the total population have received both jabs.
The cumulative case diagnosis rate now stands at 284.7per 100,000 population, compared to 204.4 in 10 -23 October and 151.5 for 28 September–11 October.
Cyprus has reported a total of 127,684 COVID-19 cases and 588 deaths.
Source: Financial Mirror