Health Minister Chris Fearne appeared on CNBC to discuss national and EU-wide COVID-19 vaccine procurement when he was asked about a recent criticism from Austria’s health authorities over the rollout.
“In my opinion, the joint procurement mechanism has been a success,” Fearne said in the interview, explaining that it had ensured all member states has access to the vaccine, instead of forcing neighbouring countries to compete for it.
His comments come after Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has accused the EU of giving preferential treatment to Malta when distributing COVID-19 vaccines along the continent.
That said, he did note that different countries are vaccinating at a different rate, and took the opportunity to make a quick joke about Malta’s speedy rate.
“If vaccination was an Olympic sport, Malta would probably be a gold medallist,” he smiled, before saying “but it’s not a sport, it’s a serious situation.”
Fearne went on to say that one in every three Maltese adults has so far been given a dose of a vaccine aimed to fight against COVID-19.
‘As of today, one third of our entire population would have received at least the first dose of the vaccine,” he said. Later, he shared a post celebrating that milestone.
As of yesterday, Malta had given out 186,111 vaccine doses, of which 52,340 were second doses.
Images: Screenshots from CNBC