Malta is pressuring the EU to step up its game in COVID-19 vaccine procurement and order a fresh round, just in case future evidence emerges that a third shot is necessary.
“There is currently no evidence to suggest the need for a future (third) booster dose, however at this stage this cannot be excluded,” Fearne said in a letter to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on 18th January, which has been seen by Lovin Malta.
“It is my understanding that once a person has been immunised with a particular vaccine, in the event of the need for a third booster shot, this should be of the same type of vaccine.”
“In this regard, if evidence does show a third dose is necessary, it is important that they’re made available to member states when required.”
“Considering the strong global demand for vaccines, it is important that we’re not caught off guard and that we plan in advance to be able to use the Advance Purchase Agreement to purchase the additional dose.”
Malta says it has ordered enough doses from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna to vaccinate all vulnerable people by May and achieve herd immunity by September.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed it will spend €2 million to purchase an additional 80,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Malta has also ordered a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved by the European Medicines Agency.
However, the EU and AstraZeneca are currently locked in a dispute after the pharmaceutical company said it will cut deliveries by 60% in the first quarter of this year due to production delays in its Dutch and Belgian plants.
Malta is currently leading the charge in the EU in terms of vaccine doses distributed per capita, but is trailing behind the likes of the UK, the USA and Israel.