The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Quarantine for fully vaccinated case contacts reduced, booster vaccine jabs to start being given out

Albert Galea Thursday, 5 August 2021, 12:17 Last update: about 3 months ago

Restrictions surrounding the mandatory quarantine period in the case of a fully vaccinated person being a close contact of a Covid-19 case have been relaxed, while the government has announced plans for a booster vaccine shot to be given out to select demographics from next month.

In a press conference on Thursday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced – amongst other things – that the quarantine period for those who are fully vaccinated and who come into contact with a Covid-19 case will be reduced from 14 days to 7 days.

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This applies only to those who are in possession of a vaccination certificate, Fearne stressed.

The quarantine period will remain 14 days for people who test positive for Covid-19, for travellers, and for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The 14-day mandatory quarantine period will also remain in force for those people living in the same household as a Covid-19 positive person – irrelevant of whether those household members are in possession of a vaccination certificate or not.

The same 14-day mandatory quarantine period will also apply to those who are residing in institutions such as elderly homes – again, irrelevant of whether the contacts are fully vaccinated or not.

These new protocols will come into force for those who come into contact with positive cases from 16 August onwards.

Fearne also announced that the government will be rolling out a booster dose for specific demographics as from the middle of September.

He explained that a single booster shot will be given to people who are immunosuppressed or immunocomprised as a result of a medical condition – which means that the original two doses of the vaccine does not give them enough immunity against the serious effects of Covid-19 – and to residents of elderly homes.

Fearne said that four considerations – the level of immunity seen in the community, which has not decreased significantly; the effectiveness of vaccines on the immunosuppressed; the presence and emergence of new variants; and social factors such as the situation in elderly homes – were taken in reaching this decision.

A number of countries have announced similar measures when it comes to booster shots – with Israel already rolling out the third dose of the vaccine to the elderly.

Fearne was addressing a press conference giving an update about the Covid-19 situation in Malta, where he said that the country currently has 1,206 active cases.

The absolute majority of cases last week were traced to the Delta Variant – with 95% of cases being found to be of this variant. The remaining 5% are down to the Gamma variant which originated in Brazil.

The Health Minister also announced that standing events will, for now, remain banned from taking place – although the capacity for seated events will be increased as from 16 August, and again from 30 August.

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