vaccine pexels

As of 1st July, 2021, asylum-seekers and non-resident third-country nationals (TCNs) living in Malta will be eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, according to a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate rules disseminated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Between 8am and 12pm (noon), anyone with an asylum seeker’s document, police card “or any other such document that is available to you” may visit Gateway Building at the University of Malta, Msida, without pre-booking an appointment to receive the vaccine.

Visitors will be required to provide details about themselves, including name, surname, date of birth, address and mobile number, but it is claimed that this information is only being requested for health purposes and will be kept “strictly confidential”.

The development comes as Malta’s vaccination drive has continued to speed ahead while leaving certain swathes of the population, including expatriates from third countries without recognised residency status and asylum seekers ineligible to get jabbed.

Additionally, local media reports have previously indicated that bureaucratic delays relating to the issuing of identity documents to expatriates has seen many unable to register to receive the vaccine, despite being officially eligible to be given it.

The expansion is likely a result of a newly revealed “ambitious” drive to reach 85 per cent vaccine coverage amongst Malta’s adult population, as revealed by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne on Wednesday.

The programme has also recently been expanded to make children that are 12 to 15 years old eligible to receive the vaccine.

As things stand, around 73 per cent of Malta’s adults have been fully vaccinated against the virus – an impressive figure – but one which Mr Fearne has warned “may not be enough” to deliver herd immunity in light of the more infectious Delta variant of the virus.

Before the scheme’s expansion, Maltese citizens and all residents of Malta with valid ID cards were eligible to receive the vaccine, although, as aforementioned, some groups faced difficulties in registering for the vaccine due to bureaucratic inefficiencies in Malta’s identity document issuing body.

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