The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

Covid-19 vaccine: With EU quota surpassed, government sets new 80% target

Neil Camilleri Sunday, 6 June 2021, 09:30 Last update: about 5 months ago

With Malta having already surpassed the 70% summer quota set by the EU, the Maltese government has set a new target and aims to have vaccinated 80% of the eligible population in the coming days.

Malta reached the 70% target last week. With the number of people registered to receive the vaccine in the coming days, Malta will reach 77% of the population by 15 June.

The health authorities, however, are confident that they can go above and beyond and reach an 80% quota shortly after. Efforts will then be made to reach the remaining 20%.

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The authorities estimate that around 10% of these include people who have not yet taken the vaccine for medical reasons, such as pregnancy, allergies and other conditions. The figure also includes people who are living abroad and have not yet taken the jab, although a number of these could have been given the vaccine in their respective countries of residence.

The other 10% include people who do not want to take the vaccine and others who have not yet decided, as well as people who have simply not gotten around to it yet.

Sources said these groups will be specifically targeted in the coming weeks. Health officials will be visiting industrial estates and other workplaces to offer the vaccine on site. This is aimed at reaching people who have not yet registered.

The authorities will also be reaching out to people who had been invited to register but failed to do so.

When contacted by The Malta Independent on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne confirmed that a new target had been set.

“Every single vaccine that we administer increases protection not just of the individual concerned but of our whole community. Seeing that the supply of vaccines is available, we are pressing ahead to vaccinate as many people as possible, beyond the 70% target set out by the European Commission. This high level of vaccination is our best way of stifling the spread of variants and keeping ourselves safe”, he said.

As of Friday, 74% of the eligible population had received at least one dose, health chief Charmaine Gauci said. Malta has the highest vaccination rate in the European Union and is among the top performers globally.

In total, 541,178 doses of the virus had been administered, with 226,341 people now being fully vaccinated.

The government recently started offering the vaccine to people aged 16 and over.

The vaccine will be made available to the 12-15 year-old cohort after the upcoming exam period.

It is understood that the vaccine may be approved for use by people aged under 12 by the end of summer.

 

 

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