The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

7,000 to get second AstraZeneca jab earlier than planned

Thursday, 24 June 2021, 07:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

The health authorities will be administering the second AstraZeneca dose earlier than planned to 7,000 people “as a precaution against the Indian Delta variant”, the Malta Independent is informed.

People who received the first dose and whose second appointment was planned for 10 weeks later are now being given an earlier appointment.

“Our aim is to get you fully vaccinated,” against Covid-19, messages being sent to these people by the health authorities say, accompanied by a date for a new appointment.

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Contacted by The Malta Independent, the Health Ministry said that the specifications for the AstraZeneca vaccine give a range of between four to 12 weeks for the interval between doses.

As the vaccination programme in Malta is advancing at a steady pace, a decision was taken to move the second jab forward by two weeks (from 10 to 8 weeks). This change will affect around 7,000 individuals, and Malta has enough stock to cater for this change, the ministry said.

“This is being done as a precaution against the Indian Delta variant, which is more contagious and is spreading rapidly in Europe. Full vaccination affords better protection against this variant,” the ministry said

Malta is not the first country to bring forward the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination.

In the UK, where a surge in the number of cases has been registered in the past weeks, the government has said that second doses for over 40s and people who are at higher risk of infection should be offered after eight weeks.

In Northern Ireland, the Health Department announced that eight weeks should be the maximum interval between doses for all those whose appointments were scheduled after 14 June.

The Republic of Ireland is also employing a plan which cut down the interval between the two doses to eight weeks.

Malta has the highest rate of vaccination in all of Europe.

 

 

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