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WATCH: Maltese Health Student: ‘We’re Working With COVID-19 Patients, Why Aren’t We Getting Vaccinated Too?’ 

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Malta has already vaccinated thousands of people against COVID-19, but one particular group of people who deal directly with coronavirus patients has been left wondering why they’ve been excluded.

“Many health students are working in high-risk situations and we have families too, so I believe we should get vaccinated along with the other front-liners,” Nick Aquilina, president of the Malta Health Students Association, told Lovin Malta yesterday.

Since the pandemic hit the island last year, several health students have been assigned to COVID-19-related work as part of their placements. This includes dealing with COVID-19 patients at Mater Dei’s intensive care units and wards and helping out at the swabbing centres. 

“I know some people who got the virus themselves and the entire health faculty had to be fumigated at one point because someone contracted COVID-19,” Aquilina said. “There’s a particular cohort who was constantly quarantined because their course is so hands-on.”

He said the MHSA has repeatedly asked the authorities when they’ll get vaccinated but were ignored or only received “very dry answers”. 

“I want the government to consider having students vaccinated, particularly those working in high-risk situations.”

Malta has so far acquired two COVID-19 vaccines, one produced by Pfizer and BioNTech and another by Moderna. With these two vaccines alone, the target is to vaccinate all vulnerable people and front-liners by May and achieve herd immunity by September.  

The University’s Student Council (KSU) has urged the health authorities to prioritise health students in the national vaccination strategy.
“Their work at hospital not only poses a risk towards themselves and their families, with a number of students being placed under quarantine due to their placements at hospital, but also poses a risk to the patients that they encounter during their coursework. Moreover, clinical practice is an essential part of healthcare students’ programme of studies and must therefore be safeguarded,” KSU said.
“Therefore, KSU calls for the timely prioritisation of students who are attending placements, attachments or other teaching sessions within healthcare facilities to ensure the safety of students and patients and the successful completion of their coursework.”

Do you think health students working with COVID-19 patients should be vaccinated from now?

READ NEXT: COVID-19 Vouchers Should Be Issued By Mid-February, Malta Hotel And Restaurant Lobby Urges

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