Cyprus expects its first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the year as part of the rollout across Europe once the drugs are approved, officials said Friday.
Zoi Dorothea Pana, a member of the government’s coronavirus task force, said two manufacturers—AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech—had pledged to start supplying countries with their vaccines in December.
If all goes according to plan, Cyprus will get 119,024 doses from AstraZeneca and 48,955 from Pfizer/BioNTech, according to government advisers.
In total, Cyprus has ordered around 1.8 million doses from AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Janssen, with each vaccine requiring two shots for immunity.
Cyprus expects to receive 1,192,043 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from December through to the second quarter of 2022.
Delivery of 391,637 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is expected this month, and this would continue until the third quarter of 2021.
Another 200,000 doses are expected from Janssen from the second quarter of next year.
Once the rollout starts, those given priority will be front line workers like hospital staff plus high-risk vulnerable groups with serious illness.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou has said COVID-19 vaccines would not be obligatory.
Cyprus, a member of the European Union, takes part in all four agreements signed by the European Commission with the vaccine companies.
Safe travel scheme
Once the European Medicines Agency approve a vaccine it needs confirmation from the European Commission before distribution can begin.
A deal for the Moderna vaccine has yet to be completed.
Cyprus on Thursday approved a new four-tier safe travel list in place of a three-category system to revive tourism, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new regime that is to take effect from March 1, arrivals who can prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer need to present a negative PCR test upon arrival.
Other travellers will have to meet the requirements for their country of origin.
The scheme is based on country risk assessments by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
It includes a green tier that allows free entry to the island for people arriving from low-risk countries.
Passengers arriving from orange tier countries with a higher risk will have to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of travelling.
Those from red tier countries will be allowed to enter Cyprus if they carry a negative PCR test and undergo another test upon arrival at the airport. They will not have to self-isolate.
A final, grey category is for people who are not Cypriot citizens or residents who require special permission to enter from high risk countries.
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