Since the vaccines for COVID-19 have been announced as safe and then greenlit, a storm of misinformation and fears have dogged its progress throughout the world.
Not even Malta has been spared from fears of the vaccine’s potential effects despite the country tending to have good vaccination rates and trust in doctors.
Now, the Head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Mater Dei Hospital, Dr Charles Mallia Azzopardi, has come out to try and allay people’s fears surrounding the vaccines that Malta has and is receiving.
“The studies done so far on these vaccines prove without a doubt that if I catch the infection it will not harm me, meaning the virus will not go down into my lungs and will not harm me. Neither will it give me a high fever, it will not kill me, and I will not go to the hospital or the ITU,” he said.
Interviewed during a special news broadcast on TVM, the Ġieħ ir-Repubblika recipient went on to highlight his hopes that everyone should be vaccinated as it provides the greatest shield to COVID-19’s worst effects that have claimed 210 Maltese lives thus far.
When asked about the safety of the vaccine being produced and greenlit in 11 months (compared to the usually 10 to 15 years a vaccine normally takes to be made and approved), Dr Mallia Azzopardi said that he is as “confident as I can be” considering the thousands of testers who have been a part of the studies of each vaccine.
Yet, specifically regarding how safe a vaccine made in such record time actually is, Dr Mallia Azzopardi stated an apt analogy that a colleague of his used to explain the situation.
“If I want to go from Mellieħa to Birżebuġġa with my car it will take me about an hour or an hour and a half. If, on the other hand, I get in the car with the President who has two traffic policemen with him and they are paving the way, of course I will get from Mellieħa to Birżebuġġa in a much shorter time but still safely!”
In the special broadcast he also highlighted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the vaccine that people in Malta are being given so far, has no effects on people’s genetics at all. He went on to assure the public that “the vaccine doesn’t get into the inner ball” where our genetic material is kept within the nuclei.
Rather, he explained that the vaccine “stays in that outer jelly part” which means that there was no chance that “these vaccines will enter our genetics and cause harm.”
With the first batch of vaccinations underway in Malta, as part of an EU-wide initiative to vaccinate all of its citizens, it seems that the start of the end of this pandemic is finally in sight – if people get their vaccines that is.
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