The arrival and imminent distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is indeed a welcome development. On the 27th of December, Malta launched its vaccination programme in a bid to undermine the dreadful impacts of COVID-19. The pandemic has created several economic and psychological pressures and an effective vaccine is dubbed as the golden ticket out of this pandemic.
It would be safe to say that the prospect of the vaccine has been well received in Malta with several commenting positively and looking forward to inoculation. A few days in its vaccination programme, Malta finds itself in a favourable position when compared to other European countries. At the time of writing, a thousand and four hundred individuals have received their vaccine, in line with the objective to achieve herd immunity by the beginning of summer. Although doctors have lamented a slow roll-out, things are indeed looking brighter than they were a few months ago, as we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. In another optimistic outlook, the Prime Minister Robert Abela is gearing the country to be back in full swing by May. Considering that up till a few months ago, no one could see an end to this pandemic, the fact that there is a concrete exit plan is immensely encouraging.
Malta’s vaccine distribution is split across five stages
Following the first segment, those over eighty years of age, together with the remaining frontliners will also be inoculated. These will then be followed by people with chronic illnesses and those over seventy. Once this segment has been immunised, staff at schools and childcare centres will follow. It will then be the turn of those over fifty-five, followed by the rest of the population.
For the past weeks, there have been some issues raised regarding the delays in approval. Chris Fearne was one of the Health Ministers to raise concern regarding the EU’s delay. This is in view of the fact that the UK fast tracked its approval process to start inoculations earlier. Fortunately, the European Medicines Agency managed to streamline the approval process without compromising quality as stated by Chris Fearne.
Multiple contracts have been secured by the European Union to ensure that all citizens will have quick access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Upcoming vaccines on the horizon are those produced by Moderna and the University of Oxford.
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