Health officials have assured MPs that efforts are being made to secure greater vaccine doses for the coronavirus, which until now have been limited to a trickle.

Olga Kalakouta, acting director of the Medical Services, gave parliamentarians a briefing on the government’s immunisation plan, which in the current first phase targets people aged over 80 as well as healthcare professionals dealing with Covid-19.

Speaking to the press after the briefing, House health committee chair Costas Costantinou said the ministry has identified problems in distribution and is working to resolve them.

One complaint that arose concerned the geographical spreading of the vaccination centres, which for example forced a number of people living to Polis to travel all the way to Kyperounda.

Another issue was the opening of the vaccination appointment portal at midnight, which led many people unable to stay up that late getting squeezed out. As a result, most of the available appointments were taken up by the early morning hours.

This has since been addressed, with the portal henceforth going live early in the morning for each round of appointments.

MP Giorgos Georgiou, of main opposition Akel, was less forgiving of the government, saying the briefing left a lot to be desired.

“Why does the ministry of health not provide data on the number of persons being vaccinated, why this lack of transparency?”

He went on to ask “why the delay in receiving the vaccines…how will people get immunised in order to achieve community immunity, whereas it was announced that vaccinations will last until the autumn.”

The MP also asked what is the immunisation plan regarding people aged 70 to 80, healthcare professionals other than those dealing with Covid-19, as well as kidney and cancer patients.

“Unfortunately no plan exists.”

Since the start of the vaccination programme on December 27 until last Sunday, a total of 6,035 people had the jab and they have made appointments for the second dose.

Another 3,960 vaccination appointments were made available through the government portal to people over 80 from Monday.

On Tuesday, 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Cyprus. During the first three months of 2021 Cyprus is expected to receive a total of 16,500 Moderna vaccines.


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