Member of the advisory scientific committee of experts on COVID-19 and Pediatrics Lecturer at European University Cyprus Zoi Dorothea Pana has told CNA that despite the high percentage of fully vaccinated adults in Cyprus there should be no room for complacency and people must strictly follow health protocols.
Invited to comment on data showing that until the 14th of August, 70.3% of Cyprus` adult population had completed their vaccination, while the corresponding percentage in the EU is 62.4%, she said that Cyprus is doing very well but warned against a sense of complacency, saying that the Delta variant, which is the most contagious strain since the outbreak of the pandemic, makes herd immunity difficult to achieve.
What is needed, she added, is to achieve a high vaccination percentage in all age groups.
Invited to comment on studies showing that that vaccinated people also transmit the virus, she said that vaccinated persons must take health protection measures as they too can transmit the virus, but to a less extent and pointed out the benefits of being vaccinated.
Regarding the possibility of administrating a third dose of the vaccine in autumn, Pana told CNA that based on scientific discussions and studies worldwide, the third dose will primarily concern people with immunosuppression, the elderly and those living in closed structures.
She recalled that three countries have announced officially that they will proceed with inoculations with a third dose in autumn, namely Germany, France and Israel, giving priority to the above vulnerable groups.
As regards the new school year, she told CNA that recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stress that schools must be kept open since long periods of lockdown have significant psychosocial and educational effects on children.
They stress, she said, that due to the Delta variant, health protocols must be strictly followed.
In addition, she said that many measures are needed to be taken simultaneously, such as frequent testing, more vaccination coverage of adults working at schools, especially those who are close to vulnerable high risk children and inoculations of children on a voluntary basis.
Meanwhile, Amalia Hadjiyianni, Scientific Director of the Famagusta and Larnaca hospitals, told CNA that the percentage of patients in the Famagusta General Hospital, which is operating as a coronavirus reference hospital, and who are not vaccinated, has dropped to 87% from 90% last Friday.
She pointed out that even those who are vaccinated should be very cautious as they can get the disease and have milder symptoms but they can transmit the virus, especially the Delta variant, to others. The youngest patient in the Famagusta Hospital is 34 years old and the oldest 92 years old. The median age of those hospitalized is 60 years, she said.
Invited to comment on the fact that 70.3% of Cypriot adults are fully vaccinated, she said that this is a very satisfactory percentage noting that when we reach 80% of citizens, we will have a good immunity to protect the population.