Malta has been allocated 500,000 doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Health Minister Chrs Fearne has confirmed.
Speaking on ONE’s morning newspaper roundup this morning, Fearne said Malta was originally allocated 250,000 doses of this vaccine through an EU distribution scheme but managed to double the amount it will receive.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced this month that its vaccine candidate can prevent over 90% of people from getting COVID-19, in what they described as a “great day for science and humanity”.
The developers are currently preparing their submissions to the European Medicines Agency, and if the regulator deems the vaccine safe and effective, Malta is expected to start receiving it in the first weeks of 2021.
“We’ve been allocated 500,000 doses from Pfizer alone and hundreds of thousands of other doses from other vaccine developers,” Fearne said. “If they all arrive, we’ll have more than enough for the entire Maltese population which is a good problem to have.”
Fearne reiterated that the Pfizer vaccine will initially be allocated to people older than 80, doctors, nurses, police officers, pharmacists, other front-liners, and will be delivered over two doses.
“They will receive individual appointments for both doses to ensure they won’t have to queue up for the vaccine. We have everything, including the cold storage, prepared and we’re awaiting the regulators to scrutinise the vaccine.”
“If the result is positive, then we’ll start vaccinating people at the start of the year.”
Fearne also confirmed that private companies won’t initially be given access to the vaccine, meaning the government will vaccinate people for free in the first few months.
If everything goes according to plan, everyone will be able to get vaccinated within six months.
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