Chris Fearne

Malta has entered discussions with Israel regarding a possible travel agreement for their vaccinated citizens to travel unincumbered between each nation, revealed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne.

In an interview with AFP on Tuesday, reported by France24, Mr Fearne revealed that Malta is “in talks with the Israeli Government”, regarding the possibility of this prospective travel arrangement. 

However, Mr Fearne also encouraged caution regarding the “vaccine passports” that many have discussed.

Mr Fearne said he believes that “proof of vaccination certificates need to be empowering rather than restrictive”, and emphasised that there is little data on whether vaccinated individuals can spread the virus.

“We still need to sanction the scientific evidence that a vaccine not only decreases the consequences of getting infected… but also decreases transmissibility,” he said. 

Both Israel, and to a lesser extent Malta, have gained acclaim for the speed of their vaccination programs.

Malta’s program is amongst the fastest in Europe. As of Tuesday, the country had given at least one COVID vaccine dose to 10 per cent of its 515,000 strong population.

Israel’s is the fastest in the world, with more than a third of its population having received the vaccine.

During his interview with AFP, Mr Fearne also discussed the possibility that COVID vaccination programs may be needed in long run, not least because of the various difference strains that have emerged.

“If the immunity will wane then we will need booster doses, so possibly an annual dose. Hopefully not, but that is a possibility”, he commented. 

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