Disability activist Amy Camilleri Zahra has urged Malta to immediately priorities organ transplant recipients in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, warning that many such people have been self-isolating for a year now.
“Whilst I am very happy to read that our vaccination programme seems to be gaining momentum, I can’t help but mention that recipients of whole organ transplants are still waiting for their letter/call to receive the vaccine,” Camilleri Zahra wrote in an open letter to Health Minister Chris Fearne and Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci.
“It has already been two weeks since you mentioned that people with chronic illnesses will start receiving the vaccine.”
Noting that organ transplant recipients are amongst the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their high levels of immunosuppression, she said they should have been among the first to get vaccinated.
“Some of us, including myself, and our families have been self-isolating for a year now, that is, way before we even received an official letter from the Department of Health, as we were advised to do so by our doctors,” she said.
“This has had great repercussions on our mental health and that of our families. We have been living in constant fear and anxiety for a year. Yet, I keep checking my letterbox every day and holding my mobile phone close by with the hope of receiving the much-awaited letter/call but two weeks later there’s still no sign of either.”
“I kindly urge you to take our plea seriously and to consider us for Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible.”
Last Friday, Charmaine Gauci confirmed that letters are being sent to a large group of vulnerable people, inviting them for a vaccine appointment. These include immunosuppressed people, cancer patients, dialysis patients, people with respiratory problems and people with Down’s syndrome.
What do you make of Amy Camilleri Zahra’s appeal?