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When can Malta expect the vaccine?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips. The UK was the first to approve the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine just a couple of days ago and within seconds, we were all asking the same question: when can Malta expect the vaccine?

Our questions have finally been answered. Malta is expected to begin rolling out the first COVID-19 vaccines by the first week of 2021, following Europe’s medicines regulator imposing a 29 December deadline to grant its approval.

According to health minister Chris Fearne, local newspaper Time of Malta reported, thousands of vaccines will be making their way to Malta the very day after the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccination is given the green light, by the European Medicines Agency.

The minister praised the EU’s efforts in jointly procuring a vaccine, but added that it may be helpful for the EMA to “explain to us, and more importantly, to the wider European general public” why there was a lag in its decision after the UK began disseminating at once.

Fearne said that the EMA was carrying out detailed studies of the vaccine, with trials showing it offers up to 95% protection against the virus. He also confirmed that up to 500,000 vaccines from the company will be made available to Malta over a period of months. The first, as previously confirmed, will be made available for the vulnerable, the elderly and frontliners.

The islands will also be receiving tens of thousands of vaccines from Moderna as of the middle of January. That being said, the minister warned that the impending vaccinations do not mean that people should let their guard down, or that restrictions would be removed. “We can’t relax the measures at once, the process will take some months, but we’re optimistic we could vaccinate the Maltese population within six months. We’ve started on the road to recovery.”