articles | 20 November 2020

Cyprus draws up coronavirus vaccination strategy

The health ministry said Thursday that a plan has been drawn up for the vaccination of the Cyprus public against coronavirus, noting that in cooperation with the government’s coronavirus expert task force, groups to get vaccinated first were determined on the basis of an algorithm.

The ministry said news of positive developments in the clinical trials being undertaken by several pharmaceutical companies are encouraging, particularly in light of the EU’s strategy for the securing of adequate numbers of coronavirus vaccines to cover member states’ needs.

The European Commission’s initiative has seen contracts signed with CureVac, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and BioNtech-Pfizer, and successful exploratory talks with Moderna, which announced earlier this week its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial, becoming the second developer to report results that far exceeded expectations, after Pfizer and BioNTech said last week their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective.

“The Commission has secured to date at least 1.2 billion doses and fulfils its commitment to ensuring equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines not only for EU citizens but also for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people,” President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

The health ministry said Thursday that Cyprus is expected to receive one million vaccine doses through the EU’s initiative – 600,000 from AstraZeneca, 200,000 from Johnson & Johnson, and 200,000 from Pfizer and BioNTech. Sanofi –GSK have yet to ask member states to place their orders.

Health authorities said that due to the differences in the technologies being used by each company busy developing a coronavirus vaccine, Cyprus opted to participate in multiple agreements reached between the EU and pharmaceutical companies in order to ensure it will have access to safe and effective vaccines once these become available at the same time as other member states.

The Cyprus public will be vaccinated in groups that have been prioritized through the use of an algorithm and in cooperation with the government’s health advisory committee, the health ministry said.

Vaccination centres will be set up, it added, noting that as vaccines become available specific procedures, such as appointments, will begin.

Vaccine storage, refrigerators and other infrastructure will depend on the vaccine being licensed, the health ministry said.

Source: Knews

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