Malta will have vaccinated 13,275 people, 2.6% of the population, against COVID-19 by next Monday, putting it at the top of the pack in the global vaccine ‘race’, Health Minister Chris Fearne has revealed.
Interviewed on Xtra tonight, Fearne said Malta has so far received 26,550 doses of a vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as a tiny consignment of vaccines produced by Moderna.
Malta is following Pfizer’s advice and stockpiling half of these vaccines to be administered in a second dose after a three-week gap, which means the first batch of second doses will be administered on Sunday.
Rachel Grech, the nurse who became the first person in Malta to be vaccinated against the virus, will receive her second dose on Sunday morning.
With 2.6% of its population vaccinated by Monday, Malta expects to be at the top of the pack in terms of doses administered.
As it stands, the UK is leading the charge in Europe, having vaccinated 4.52% of its population. Denmark is second with 2.23%, Ireland is third with 1.57%, Italy fourth with 1.5%, and Spain fifth with 1.45%.
Globally, Israel has surged ahead by a clear mile, having already vaccinated 24.53% of its population, while the UAE has vaccinated 15.45%. The EU average is 0.92% and the global average is 0.42%.
“We’re one of the best countries in the world in terms of vaccine administration,” Fearne said.
Next Monday, Malta will receive a larger-than-usual consignment of 14,625 Pfizer vaccines, which means that around 21,000 people will have been vaccinated by 24th January.
“We have the logistics and manpower, and we’re distributing vaccines at people’s homes and elderly care homes. In Germany, a region had to discard entire doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because they didn’t store them at the right temperature, but we haven’t made any such mistakes so far.”
The Health Ministry also confirmed that 70% of healthcare workers will have been vaccinated by the end of the month and all of them will have been vaccinated by February.
All residents at St Vincent de Paule will have been vaccinated by the end of the month and all elderly care home residents by the end of February.
All over 85s will have been vaccinated by the end of January, while those in that age group who can’t leave home will have received it by the first week of February.