[WATCH] Malta set to reach 50,000 COVID vaccine target two weeks early

Xtra on TVM | Health Minister Chris Fearne says Malta’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is highest and fastest in the EU

Health Minister Chris Fearne
Health Minister Chris Fearne

Malta will achieve its target of administering 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines by Sunday, a full two weeks ahead of the original deadline, Chris Fearne said.

The Health Minister said the AstraZeneca vaccine will start being administered from Friday, boosting inoculation efforts.

Fearne was speaking on TVM’s Xtra hosted by Saviour Balzan.

He said Malta’s rate of vaccination remained the highest and fastest in the EU, a feat in itself considering that two thirds of countries had not even started vaccinations.

Information released on Thursday by the health authorities shows that until Wednesday afternoon, Malta had administered 44,598 doses, of which 12,928 were second doses.

Fearne said that from March, Malta would have at its disposal 250,000 doses of the fourth vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.

The advantage of this vaccine is that it only requires one shot.

Asked whether some vaccines were better than others, Fearne said scientific evidence so far indicates that Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca are effective against the type of coronavirus found in Europe, including Malta.

“There’s a small indication that AstraZeneca could not be as effective against the South African variant – which so far is not present in Malta,” he said.

Fearne emphasised that this was not a race between countries but between the virus and the vaccine and between those infected and those vaccinated.

Asked about people not telling the truth during the contact tracing exercise carried out when someone tests positive for coronavirus, Fearne said the authorities had to rely on what patients told them.

“This is an issue of personal responsibility – a person that doesn’t tell the truth will be endangering the people around him,” he cautioned.