Health Minister Chris Fearne said he will be the first to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it arrives in Malta to prove how safe it is.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will be as safe as other vaccines. We aren’t going to give ita day earlier than when we know its safe,” Fearne insisted.
Questioned about the safety of the vaccine on L-Erbgħa Fost il-Gimgha, the health minister said it won’t be administered unless it passes several checks.
“Every new medicine and vaccine on the market can have longterm side effects but regulatory systems for medicines are super rigorous, so we know they are as safe as possible,” he explained.
“We aren’t reducing the standards of vaccines. There are constant studies and rolling assessments to see what’s happening in real-time.”
Malta’s first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be available by early 2021.
This comes after the announcement that the vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech is 90% effective in people.
The finding was made following the first independent analysis of a COVID-19 vaccine in phase 3 trials, that is the phase right before the product is given a commercial license and allowed on the market.
“Thanks to the joint procurement agreement which we entered into with the European Commission earlier this year, Malta will be one of the first countries worldwide to start receiving the vaccine,” Fearne told Lovin Malta.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is expected to be submitted to health authorities for emergency approval in the third week of November. Other companies working on a vaccine, like Moderna or AstraZeneca, will not be expecting results for at least a few more weeks.
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