The Malta Independent 5 December 2021, Sunday

Children aged 5-11 to get Covid-19 vaccine as from mid-December – minister

Sabrina Zammit Wednesday, 24 November 2021, 15:06 Last update: about 10 days ago

Children aged between 5 and 11 will be getting the opportunity to be vaccinated as from mid-December if the jab is authorised by the European Medicines Authority, which is expected to take a decision on the matter on Thursday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said.

The vaccination for children of these ages is different from other vaccinations, with Fearne saying that arrangements are in place for the vaccines to be brought over to Malta in the coming weeks for them to be administered as from mid-December.

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Children who suffer from chronic conditions will be the first to receive the jab, followed by the rest of the cohort.

Addressing the media, Fearne said that there are some 6,000 persons over 70 years of age whonhave not recveived the booster vaccine. He urged these people to make an appointment for them to receive the booster.

The minister said that at present the health authorities are giving booster vaccinations to people in the 60-69 age bracket, one third of whom have already been vaccinated.

The next on the list are people aged 50 and over, who will be getting their booster jab by the end of the year. In this case, he said, people aged 59 and under will be asked to register for their appointment for the booster jab, as had happened when they had received the first dose or doses.

The Malta Independent asked Fearne if the authorities are being discriminatory in the choice of events they allow to take place. There has been criticism over how the government issued permits for the Sigma conference and the President’s Fun Run at a time when religious processions are still banned.

Fearne said that the standing event regulations apply for everyone, thus whoever fills an application should make sure to satisfy these criteria. He added that the same protocols used for the Fun Run are in place for any event, including those organised by the Curia.

He added that as long as these events do not go against any of the established protocols, they will be permitted. He said that the criteria for standing events are very clear as those attending need to be vaccinated, wear a mask all the time and be limited to 100 people, where other external individuals will not be let in.  

 

New control room

Fearne was speaking during the inauguration of a new control room at Mater Dei Hospital. He said assistance will be dispatched more quickly with the help of artificial intelligence.

Fearne said that Malta is known to have an excellent medical sector and that this is why Maltese people have a higher life expectancy. He added that despite the stress caused by the pandemic, the Maltese medical sector has proved to have one of the best services, and the government is always seeking to improve it. Fearne said that Malta’s health service is better than those of other countries such as the Netherlands, which is sending patients abroad for care since it cannot cope.

A new system of roaming Emergency responders was also launched a few days ago, where there will always be two medical teams roaming all day. This means that if there is a medical emergency, these teams can be sent immediately to the place of the incident, which gives the patient a better chance at surviving in life or death situations.

Fearne also said that in the coming weeks, Malta is expected to receive a total of 15 new ambulances.

Fearne said that when an emergency call is received it is directed to the police, and is then redirected to Mater Dei if need be. In total, 70 % of these calls are medical, adding up to a total of 350 patients, with a third of cases requiring an ambulance. This new hub shall have a new system where it is linked with the dispatched ambulances, thanks to CCTV cameras. This new upgrade shall provide the patient with advanced care as they will be assisted directly from Mater Dei hospital thanks to this link. Fearne said that apart from this new development, ambulances will be better equipped better as they will resemble more an ITU unit. 

In collaboration with Transport Malta, these ambulances will benefit from a new constantly updated traffic tracker. With the aid of artificial intelligence, this will provide the best route in accessing the scene of the incident.

Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement Byron Camilleri added that thanks to this new system, patients or anyone who will be calling for an ambulance will be able to send an image of a location thanks to an advanced system of SMS. 

The new hub costs around €600,000

 

 

 

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