The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

‘Vaccine protects 9 from every 10 people’ - Chris Fearne

Giuseppe Attard Thursday, 17 June 2021, 11:55 Last update: about 3 months ago

Health Minister Chris Fearne said today that the Covid-19 vaccine protects nine out of every 10 people, and although people taking the jab have a lower risk of needing hospital care, complications are still possible.

Speaking at the opening of a clinic in Marsaxlokk, Fearne referred to the death of an 82-year-old man who contracted the virus twice, and had been vaccinated in between the two instances.

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Replying to The Malta Independent, Fearne said that the vaccine is not assured protection. “The vaccine works 94% to 95% of the time and although the risk of needing hospital care has been drastically reduced by the vaccine, the risk is still there”.

This could be due to a number of reasons and health complications and “that is why we have to reach herd immunity and aim higher than the 70% benchmark,” Fearne said.

Fearne talked about various topics regarding safe travel, vaccination programme and herd immunity.

So far Malta has two systems in place for travel to amber list countries. The first criteria are for those who are travelling and are not in possession of the vaccine certificate. People who form part of this group have to travel with a negative PCR test to leave and another negative PCR test coming back to Malta.

People in possession of the vaccine certificate can move freely to countries in the green and amber list without having to get a negative PCR test when leaving and coming. This can also be done when travelling to and from certain countries on the red list, Fearne said.

A legal noticed published consists of a list of all the countries someone with the vaccine certificate can travel freely to without any requiring any PCR or any restrictions.

With regards to the European Green Passport, Malta is on track to form part of this system and it will occur in the first week of July.

Last week measures regarding mass events were announced. Fearne said that “our aim is to return as fast as possible to normality. This however cannot be achieved by risking all that we have accomplished. The virus does not let one predict its next steps […] but we are in contact with representatives from the entertainment industry and we are discussing a calculated risk based approach”

In the coming days we will be achieving herd immunity Fearne said. “We are looking to be a bit more ambitious and our aim is to reach 80% herd immunity […] I think this goal is achievable considering that 79% of the adult population is vaccinated”

Fearne said that Malta is closely monitoring the UK since the vaccination numbers are similar.

“The increase in cases in the UK is due to Indian variant which seems to be spreading like wild fire. We are closely monitoring the UK to see if vaccinated people who end up contracting the Indian variant require any form of hospital care, if the hospital admissions remain low, this will be good news for everyone”.

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