Malta to offer COVID-19 booster dose to ‘everyone’, Chris Fearne says

COVID-19 vaccine booster rolled out to general population from January, starting with those aged 45 and over • Educators, health workers, carers and pharmacists will start receiving booster from Monday • 40 new cases on Friday

The COVID-19 booster dose will gradually be available to the entire population from January, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday.

He said that from 6 December, over 60s would begin to receive invitations for the COVID-19 booster vaccine, while the over 45s will be invited to take the jab from the first week of January.

Currently, 56,585 doses of the booster have been administered to those aged 70 and over, equivalent to 75% of the age cohort. Fearne said that teachers, healthcare workers, carers and pharmacists will start receiving the booster dose from Monday after the authorities decided to bring forward the timeline.

Fearne said as it stands there was no need for more measures to be introduced, however, he cautioned that there was a slight increase in cases, and the public had to remain vigilant. 

On Friday, Malta registered 40 new cases, bringing the number of active cases to 298. There were 13 recoveries. 

There are nine persons at Mater Dei Hospital with three cases in ITU.

Fearne said Malta was able to remain stable because of the country’s high vaccination rate. The situation in the rest of Europe is deteriorating.

He said there are three main clusters: two from workplaces with 25 cases and eight cases and a small cluster at a childcare centre, with six cases. 

The minister confirmed that the only variant in Malta at the moment is the Delta variant and that Malta hadn’t seen any cases of the Delta plus variant so far.  

Regarding vaccinations for those aged 5-11, Fearne said that EMA had communicated that the regulatory body was awaiting results which should arrive before the end of the year. 

Fearne said that the country was preparing ahead to ensure that when it was approved, there were enough doses available.