Cyprus is in contact with the competent authorities of the European Union and is monitoring everything in relation to the vaccinations against COVID-19, Helena Panayiotopoulou, Acting Director of Pharmaceutical Services, of the Ministry of Health told CNA on Friday.
She also reassured the public in relation to reports about thromboembolic episodes in people who have been vaccinated with a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which Cyprus has also received.
Replying to CNA questions, she said that Cyprus has no reports about any thromboembolic episodes of any vaccine circulating in its territory, but noted that they temporarily stopped the administration of that particular batch.
Panayiotopoulou stressed that the particular batch has been suspended, adding that Cyprus wants reassurance that there is no risk and wants to get the green light from the Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee of the European Medicines Agency, so that vaccinations can continue with that batch.
She said that the number of thromboembolic episodes that occurred in vaccinated people is not higher than the number in the general population.
Vaccines, she said, are for the prevention of COVID 19, adding that if a person is vaccinated and then something happens, it does not mean that the vaccine is to blame.
Noting that 30 cases were reported out of 5 million people who have been vaccinated, (0.006%), she said that the possibility of having a car accident is much higher than someone having a thromboembolic episode from a vaccine.
She called upon people to inform the Pharmaceutical Services through the yellow card in case they notice anything out of the ordinary.
In addition, she said that the Pharmaceutical Services have a pharmacovigilance sector, which is in constant contact with the competent authorities of the European Union and monitors the situation.
Panayiotopoulou said that the particular batch of vaccines is currently on hold, noting that no one is going to be vaccinated with that batch until they receive official assurances from the EU.
Asked by CNA how many people have been vaccinated in Cyprus with this batch, she said that this is still being investigated.
Regarding AstraZeneca`s announcement that it would cut by 25% the amount of vaccine doses that it was expected to supply the EU with in the first quarter of 2021, and the extent to which Cyprus would be affected, Panayiotopoulou said that this depends on the number of vaccines that AstraZeneca will eventually supply, and how many would correspond for Cyprus.
She added that after yesterday`s approval of the Johnson & Johnson`s vaccine, there will be enough doses of one more vaccine.
Concluding, she said that Cyprus` legislation states that no pharmaceutical product can circulate in the country unless it is licensed by the Medicines Council or by the EU.