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Malta’s COVID vaccination drive has hit its latest milestone, with 400,000 people now fully vaccinated.

According to official figures, as of Wednesday, 780,770 doses of various vaccines had been given, with 401,390 being either a second dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Astrazenca versions or the first of the Johnson and Johnson version, which only requires one jab.

The latest figures also show that Malta’s new case numbers seem to be stable, with 51 new cases recorded – a significant decrease on the figures for mid-late July, when over 200 new cases were reported on consecutive days.

The promising numbers come as Malta next week prepares to expand its lifting of restrictions to allow higher-capacity seated and restricted events.

It had initially been hoped that standing events would be permitted after this week, and Health Minister Chris Fearne had indicated this would be the case, “situation and the numbers” permitting.

To the disappointment of revellers and those in the events industry, however, Mr Fearne announced last week that standing events would “certainly not be allowed” from next week.

Delta variant concerns

The prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant in Europe has done much to derail hopes for a vaccine-dependent recovery through herd immunity, as recent studies have shown that current vaccines are significantly less effective at preventing Delta variant transmission – though they seem to remain effective at preventing serious illness.

According to a US study released this week, the Pfizer vaccine is significantly less effective.

Two new studies of over 50,000 patients in the Mayo Clinic Health System showed that Moderna’s vaccine might actually be more effective against the more transmissible variant of the virus. 

It found that the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in preventing infection with the variant was only 42 per cent in July, compared to 76 per cent for Moderna’s.

Balancing lives and livelihoods

Malta’s authorities have emphasised their caution in striving to reopen sections of the economy, allowing residents in most sectors to work, while protecting society as a whole from a possible resurgence of the virus.

Speaking on Thursday morning, in an event launching new air routes from Malta, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo emphasised this, saying: “In this new normality, I am proud to say that as a country and Government, we have managed to strike a balance between the lives and livelihoods of the people”.

Featured Image:

Chris Fearne/ Facebook

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