Updated | Shipment delay stalls COVID-19 first dose inoculations

A delay in the shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine prompts first dose inoculations slow down over the weekend • Shipment of 36,000 vaccines arrives in Malta on Monday

Pfizer shipment delay cause some appointments for inoculations over the weekend to be postponed
Pfizer shipment delay cause some appointments for inoculations over the weekend to be postponed

Updated at 4:25pm with Chris Fearne comments on vaccine shipment arrival

A delayed shipment of COVID-19 vaccines caused first dose inoculations to stall over the weekend with a mere 523 administered on Sunday and 476 on Saturday.

Scores of people who had to receive their first dose vaccination on the two days had their appointments rescheduled by a few days.

A health ministry spokesperson confirmed that a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines got delayed, adding that the situation was expected to return to normal in a couple of days.

On Monday afternoon, Health Minister Chris Fearne confirmed the delay but announced that a shipment of 36,000 Pfizer vaccines had arrived and the missed appointments will be rescheduled over the coming days.

Data released by the health ministry shows that by Sunday a total of 515,662 vaccines were administered, of which 316,747 were first doses. The figures show that 208,118 people are now fully-vaccinated with two doses or a single shot of the Janssen vaccine.

The number of first doses administered since last Thursday expressed as a percentage of the population aged 16 and over, stalled at 73% as a result of the vaccine delay.

Meanwhile, calculations carried out by MaltaToday show that by Sunday, 48% of the adult population aged 16 and over was fully inoculated. If a one percentage daily increase in second dose inoculations is maintained, Malta will have half its adult population fully vaccinated by tomorrow.

Malta recently opened up its vaccination programme to those aged between 16 and 30. Following last week’s approval by the European Medicines Authority for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged between 12 and 15, government has decided that appointments for this category will be issued after exams are over at the end of June.