The Malta Independent 24 September 2023, Sunday
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20% of Malta’s population has now received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Albert Galea Tuesday, 23 March 2021, 13:29 Last update: about 4 years ago

Some 20% of Malta’s population has now received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This means that this tranche of the population has some form of antibodies against the virus, even though those who have taken just the one dose are not yet fully protected.

The figures issued by health authorities every day show that up until Monday, 150,897 doses of the vaccine have been administered to the public, with 45,286 people having received both doses of the vaccine.

By subtracting the two numbers, we can conclude that 105,611 people have therefore received at least one dose of the vaccine.

With a population of 514,564 as per the most recent statistic issued by the National Statistics Office last July, it means that 20.5% of Malta’s population has been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.

It also means that 8.8% have received both doses of the vaccine, meaning that they are now protected from the effects of the virus.

Malta remains at the top of the leader board in the European Union when it comes to its vaccination rate, especially as other European countries flounder and suffer from lack of supplies.

Malta is currently using three different Covid-19 vaccines: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The increasing discrepancy between the number of people who have received the first dose and not the second is likely down to the AstraZeneca vaccine, of which Malta has a million doses ordered.

This is because while the gap between doses for the Pfizer vaccine is three weeks and the gap between doses for the Moderna vaccine is four weeks, that same gap for the AstraZeneca vaccine is much longer: between eight to ten weeks.

Even if one has received just the one dose of a vaccine, a certain level of immunity against Covid-19 is still developed.

In the case of Pfizer for instance, testing last December showed that the first dose of the vaccine alone provides roughly 52% in terms of efficacy – that then rises to 95% after the second dose.

One dose of AstraZeneca also offers protection of 64% according to a paper published in January, while a dose of Moderna can provide around 80% protection, which then rises to 95.6% after the second dose.

Malta is aiming to reach herd immunity by mid-August, five weeks earlier than initially scheduled.

That target could be moved even further forward when a fourth approved vaccine – that of Johnson & Johnson – arrives on Maltese shores.  The vaccine maker however has said that it won’t be before mid-April that it can start sending doses out to European countries.

The arrival of this vaccine will likely accelerate the process further, especially because it is a single-dose vaccine rather than a dual-dose vaccine like the three Malta is currently using.

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