Malta’s thunderous vaccination drive has reached a new milestone, as 78 per cent of the country’s adult population are now reportedly vaccinated.
The figure places Malta’s population as amongst the most vaccinated in the world as the country strives to achieve its new “ambitious” target of 85 per cent vaccination coverage.
The programme has also recently been expanded to make children aged between 12 and 15 years eligible to receive the vaccine and has now opened up to Third Country Nationals and Asylum Seekers living in Malta without official residency status.
As the more infectious Delta variant takes hold across Europe and more cases begin to be detected in Malta, concerns have been raised about a possibly decreased efficacy of existing vaccines.
Indeed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne last week warned that the 73 per cent full dose coverage achieved at the time “may not be enough” to deliver herd immunity considering the more infectious variant.
In recent days, alarm has also been expressed in some quarters as the number of active cases in Malta has risen significantly, exceeding 100, though Malta’s business leaders have called for calm, and more information on the origin and nature of the cases.
As Malta’s authorities ponder the continued releasing of restrictions in light of these high vaccination numbers, they will be closely watching the UK, where the Delta variant is prevalent and where, in light of a successful vaccine rollout, the Government will lift the majority of COVID-related restrictions this month.
Prime Minister Robert Abela receiving the vaccine. Robert Abela/ Facebook
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Respondents divided on whether workers currently in employment should be dismissed if they do not pass test