Chris Fearne booster shot

Malta started to roll out booster shots for the COVID vaccine for residents aged 70 and over as of Monday (today), after having distributed the shot to residents inside homes for the elderly and the immuno-suppressed earlier this month.

The launch of Malta’s booster programme had been brought forward by a week after two clusters of COVID-19 infections were recently recorded in elderly care homes.

Minister Fearne has said the Government is also looking at data to understand whether booster shots should also be distributed to the rest of the elderly population.

As Malta, like the rest of the world, is doing all it can to avoid the closure of businesses and the adding of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, the use of booster shots will be welcomed by the local business community.

Coupled with the declaration by Government that the COVID wage supplement will not be extended past December 2021, overwhelmed hospital services and the need to add restrictions could spell disaster for the economy.

Indeed, authorities earlier this month said the focus would shift from COVID daily case numbers to hospitalisation rates, with the main emphasis to be placed on the number of people being treated in hospital and in the intensive care unit (ITU).

Last month, Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Mamo said “case numbers do not mean what they once did”, and pointed out that hospitalisation and mortality levels would be the new metric for judging the severity of the virus spread.

She said she expected people would adapt to the “changing nature of the numbers”, and consumer and business confidence would improve accordingly.

Malta has surpassed the 90 per cent threshold of residents aged 12 and upwards being vaccinated, Minister Fearne confirmed last month, however no concrete information has been given about the administering of the booster shot to the general population.

By Sunday (yesterday), Malta administered a total of 816,767 vaccine doses, 6,908 were booster shots.

As of Monday (today), 17 patients who are COVID positive were being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, four of whom are in ITU. A total of 13 new cases were registered together with 43 recoveries. Currently, the total number of active cases stands at 391.

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