Covid Vaccine

Malta’s COVID vaccination program has received a further boost, as the country is set to receive a Johnson and Johnson vaccine consignment in March, announced Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Chris Fearne Thursday night.

Speaking to Xtra, Mr Fearne revealed the positive impact of the arrival, saying that “the initial plan was to open vaccinations to the general public towards the end of May.”

“But since we’re already two weeks in advance and are getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March, we can progress even further,” he said. 

Mr Fearne suggested that in light of the delivery, Malta’s general public might expect to start getting vaccinated by the start of May.

The country has ordered 250,000 doses of the vaccine, said Mr Fearne.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is notable because it has shown to be effective with just a single dose, meaning that, in theory, its rollout will be much more efficient.

A further benefit of the vaccine is that it can be stored with comparative ease, at temperatures of 2 – 8°C for up to three months.

However, the vaccine, produced by Johnson and Johnson’s Netherland-based subsidiary Janssen, has been shown to have a lower efficacy rate than those produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

The European Medicines Agency is expected to give its approval to the Johsnon and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by March, the Managing Director of Janssen Italia, part of the J&J group, said on Wednesday

In January, the company revealed that global trials have shown its vaccine offering to have a 66 per cent success rate at preventing virus infections.

As of January, the EU had ordered 400 million doses of the vaccine.

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