With two days to go before the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the authorities have announced that bookings have already been made for 29,000 children.
“The vaccination of children will reduce the spread of the virus in the community, by indirectly protecting vulnerable groups close to children,” said Maria Theodoridou, chairperson of the National Vaccination Committee, on Monday.
The vaccine rollout for 5-11 year olds is expected to start on December 15.
Speaking at the daily Covid-19 briefing, Theodoridou said possible side effects of vaccination in children include a temperature and minor reactions around the injection site.
“Vaccination protects a child’s health … but there are small risks, such as the risk of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), where one in every 3,000 cases may be serious.”
Citing from a study from the Lancet, she said that children aged 5-17 years old with asthma were three to six times more likely to be hospitalized for coronavirus.
She underlined that children receive one-third of the antigen given to adults and that the two doses are administered to them at an interval of 21 days. If a child shows signs of illness, the second dose may be given after a gap of three months, on the recommendation of a pediatrician.
Regarding the third shot for adults, she said that studies show that the booster shot increase the level of antibodies by 25 times, while mortality, as well as the risk of serious disease, is reduced by 90%.
Speaking at the same briefing, the secretary-general of Primary Health Care at the Health Ministry, Marios Themistokleous, said that the vaccination rate for those over 60 has now reached 86.45.
But he warned that there were 163,000 people over the age of 60 who received their second dose more than seven months ago and have not taken the booster shot third dose.
They are now deemed unvaccinated, he said. Of them, 90,000 have made an appointment for a booster shot.