The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Malta will receive Covid vaccine with other European countries once it is available - Fearne

Shona Berger Wednesday, 1 July 2020, 20:18 Last update: about 2 months ago

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said that Maltese citizens will receive the Coronavirus vaccine together with other European countries such as Germany once it is available.

Fearne said that "until there is a vaccine the COVID-19 pandemic around the world will continue to exist."

During parliament on Wednesday Minister Fearne discussed the vaccine situation for the Coronavirus. He highlighted that "we do not want our country to end up in a situation where we are the last to receive the vaccine since we are a small country. Therefore, we are working together with European colleagues and with different companies who potentially will produce this vaccine in order to be bought collectively as a European Union."

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This will mean that Maltese citizens will receive the vaccine at the same time as other larger countries in Europe.

He remarked that "although we've successfully managed to keep the number of Coronavirus cases low in our country, without a vaccine, COVID-19 will remain a reality."

From the start of the pandemic in our country, the situation was kept under control. "This does not mean that it will be the last pandemic the world will see, and it certainly does not mean that we will not have any Coronavirus cases."

"The vaccine for the Coronavirus is currently non-existent and we are not sure when this will be available. We hope it will be available in the coming months."

Fearne admitted that "there is competition with those in America for the vaccine, but Malta was instrumental in getting this process started, so when the vaccine is available our country will have access to this treatment and avoid the pandemic from starting again.

He made reference to concerns made by many scientists and medics who have highlighted the fact that next winter, due to the increase in flu which comes every year, the country will experience a larger and worse wave, due to COVID-19.

Fearne said "we are encouraging people to get the flu vaccine as much as possible to prevent the strong and widespread flu for this year and avoid having two outbreaks as this could not only have a negative impact on our health system but also on our citizens."

Fearne remarked that from this pandemic the country has learnt that a robust and well-prepared healthy system makes a huge difference in lives. "We have seen in other countries who were not prepared as they were bombarded with the high number of Coronavirus cases, to the extent that they couldn't keep up and resulted in a large number of deaths who died because there was not enough equipment such as ventilators or beds for everyone."

Fearne also made reference to a 'pandemic reserve' which involves having extra medical support. "When it comes to our health service, we must always have this pandemic reserve so that we will have the means to tackle anything that comes our way and not end up like our neighbouring countries."

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