Cyprus’ government has decided to make a third vaccine dose against COVID-19 available to people over 50 and extend limited restrictions until the end of November following a spike in infections, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry said in a statement that the government based its decisions on the recent epidemiological data as well as advice by the local and international scientific community.
Members of the scientific team advising the government on the pandemic said the spike in infections was probably due both to the new slightly aggressive Delta plus mutation of the coronavirus and the relaxation of personal protection measures.
They also said that the extension of the third dose vaccination to people over 18 is on the cards.
“The position that the booster dose should be gradually extended to the general population is strengthened since it is observed that, after a certain period from the completion of the initial vaccination regimen, immunity decreases and there is a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine against the disease and hospitalization,” the statement said.
Health Ministry spokesman Margarita Kyriakou said that the possibility of testing even fully vaccinated people could be approved should the epidemiological data get worse.
Fully vaccinated people are currently entitled to enter public and private venues by presenting their vaccination certificates. Unvaccinated people are obliged to be tested twice a week and present a negative coronavirus certificate before being allowed into any premises.
The ratio of fully vaccinated people in Cyprus has reached 85 percent of the eligible population, but only about 30 percent of people between 12 and 20 have been vaccinated.
Kyriakou said that current restrictions measures could be made stricter but excluded a new lockdown.