On Monday morning, hundreds of residents at Malta’s homes for the elderly began receiving their booster dose for the COVID-19 vaccine, the health authorities shared in a statement.
“This process will see thousands of elderly persons receive their booster dose in the coming weeks.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne, together with Minister for the Elderly and Active Ageing Michael Farrugia, visited homes for the elderly where booster shots were being administered in Floriana.
During the visit, Minister Fearne stressed how important it is for the most vulnerable within society to take the booster shot to ensure their immunity against COVID-19 continues to strengthen, especially during the coming winter months when influenza and other viruses persist.
He also reminded immuno-suppressed persons will start to receive their booster shot appointments as of today.
Minister Farrugia said around 500 booster shots daily will be given at homes for the elderly as well as residents at St Vincent de Paul.
Booster shots and the economy
As Malta’s COVID daily transmission rates continues to remain stable following an initial uptick when the country opened to tourism in June 2021, and before the authorities required all unvaccinated visitors to quarantine in July 2021, authorities will want to ensure that this stability persists.
The International Monetary Fund, as well as other international institutions, have warned against the depletion of Government coffers and the ballooning of debt through prolonged COVID assistance.
Indeed, as Malta’s public finances continue to reflect the wide range of COVID support, one of the costliest of which is the COVID wage supplement, authorities will want to ensure that businesses are not required to shut their doors again, which would further exacerbate the need for COVID support measures.
Last Thursday, at a press conference, Minister Fearne shared that two clusters of vaccinated elderly persons residing inside homes for the elderly, among the first to receive the initial COVID vaccine early in 2021, are experiencing breakthrough infections which show the need for the booster dose.
He said that the Delta variant is ravaging healthcare systems across Europe and that as immunity wains from the initial COVID vaccine, the authorities are looking to protect the most vulnerable, keep COVID-related hospital numbers low, and therefore continue to provide non-essential services at hospital.
Currently, the number of COVID positive patients being treated at Mater Dei Hospital stands at 29, two of whom are being treated in the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU).
In addition, Malta‘s Government is working full steam ahead to draw up the country‘s Budget for 2022. As things stand, the state has already said it would not be extending the COVID wage supplement beyond December 2022, and, it will need the economy to remain open for this cut off date to be kept.
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