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Announcement: Malta reaches herd immunity

That’s right y’all! The Maltese Islands have reached herd immunity against COVID-19, announced the health minister Chris Fearne in a press conference earlier today.

He said that 70% of the eligible population, which, as it stands, refers to all those under the age of 16, has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, transmission of the virus has lowered drastically over the last few weeks.

Can we remove the masks yet?

There has actually been an update on this front! The health minister also announced that as of 1 July, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to wear their masks in outdoor spaces. That being said, masks will remain mandatory inside and until the 1 of July.

There’s a catch, however. Only groups of two fully vaccinated people (and no more), will be able to remove their masks at the same time, regardless of whether or not the other people in the group have also been vaccinated. In layman’s terms, if you’re fully vaccinated and hanging out with your friend, who has also received both jabs, you can take off your masks. If another friend decides to join you, you all have to wear your masks.

Malta is currently using all four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, which include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

How is herd immunity calculated in this case?

That’s a good question. Herd immunity is reached when a substantial proportion of a population is vaccinated, thus lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the community. The percentage of immunised people required, in order to reach herd immunity varies with every disease or virus. According to the World Health Organisation, with regards to COVID-19, the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated to reach it is not known but research is ongoing.

That being said, the European health authorities consider 70% coverage as a plausible target to start achieving a semblance of normality.

Are you happy about the news? Stay tuned for all the latest updates!