Cyprus asks vaccines from Israel amid EU delay

Anastasiades criticised the EU for being too slow in the decision-making process when it comes to vaccines’ approval. [EPA/ YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU]

Cyprus has asked neighbouring Israel for COVID-19 vaccines, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Politis journal in an interview.

I have contacted [Israeli PM] Mr Netanyahu and asked him to consider supplying a quantity for the Republic of Cyprus. He will explore the possibilities and within days we will have the answer,” the Cypriot leader said.

Asked whether this is in line with the EU rules, Anastasiades replied that this is not an EU issue as the vaccines concerned are only the ones already approved by the EU as well.

“I do not think there is such an issue. It is an effort that our country is making in view of the delay in the production of vaccines to speed up vaccination. But there would definitely be a problem if these vaccines [from Israel] had not been approved by the EU,” he said.

The EU has so far approved the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna while the European Medicines Agency has said it is possible that AstraZeneca’s vaccine could be approved within January.

Anastasiades criticised the EU for being too slow in the decision-making process when it comes to vaccines’ approval. He said the EU was wrong to focus too much on AstraZeneca’s vaccinein the beginning.

“The initial indications were very encouraging, at some point there was a setback in its effectiveness […] two companies came with a vaccine first [Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna] but the number of vaccines is not enough for rapid and mass vaccinations,” the Cypriot President emphasised.

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