Over 40s eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccine from Friday

Health Minister Chris Fearne announces that from Friday, people aged over 40 will be able to register for the COVID-19 vaccine • Three cases of the Brazilian variant found in Malta • Single-shot Janssen vaccine cleared for use

People over 40 can register to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine from Friday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

Fearne said by the end of the week Malta would have administered 300,000 first doses.

The roll-out for over 50s began on 17 April. More than a third of those aged between 50 and 59 have already taken the first dose.

“From Friday, those over 40 can resister to get the vaccine,” Fearne said. He added that those from older age groups could still sign up if they had not already registered.

Fearne also said that three cases of the Brazilian variant had been found in Malta. He did not give details but said that genetic screening would be ramped up.

Regarding the Johnson & Johnson single dose COVID-19 vaccine, Fearne said the company had given the go-ahead for the consignment already in Malta to be distributed. He also confirmed that the company had resumed its rollout in Europe.

Malta received its first batch of the vaccine on Friday.

Fearne said that there are currently six patients in the ITU, a considerable decrease from the figures witnessed in March.

He also said there were no patients at the Good Samaritan Unit, which was opened to help isolate infected residents who live in homes for the elderly.