During a press conference held Monday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Chris Fearne said that until now there are no cases of the variant of the Covid-19 virus in Malta. He said that Malta is following with its European counterparts all developments about the variant of Covid-19 that is now present in the UK and in several other European countries.
He explained that the UK has been put on the ‘Red List’, Maltese nationals and residents need to provide a PCR test and an obligatory quarantine is imposed.
The Minister said that discussions with IATA and the European Union are ongoing, when it comes to recommendations on future travel regulations that may be affected by the anti-Covid-19 vaccination.
He said that from what is known so far, the new variant is transmitted 70% faster than the original version of the vaccine but the effects are the same.
Fearne addressed the press conference soon after the European Medicine Agency’s gave its formal approval for the vaccine produced by BioNTech/Pfizer. During the press conference Fearne gave detailed information about the roll-out of the vaccine. The first vaccines will arrive in Malta on Saturday and a Mater Dei nurse will be the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday.
Batches of the vaccine will be arriving every week.
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The press conference ends here.
Earlier this month, during an interview on Newsbook.com.mt said that one should ask his or her medical doctor to guide them on which vaccine, against COVID-19, would be best for them depending on whether the person has any health conditions.
"We still need weeks and months to relax a few measures," said Health Minister Fearne.
Prof. Gauci explained that when a person receives the vaccine but comes into contact with a person who tested positive to COVID-19, that person still needs to stay under quarantine.
Minister Fearne said that health authorities still need to confirm whether the vaccine will have the same efficacy, that of 95%.
Regarding the COVID-19 victims, Minister Fearne said that usually, the number of victims reflects what happens 5 to 6 weeks before.
Vaccinations will be available at health centres while health professionals will receive the vaccine at their place of work.
Until now Malta has not identified cases of the new coronavirus variant, said Minister Fearne.
Minister Fearne said that it is extremely that people continue to follow the restrictions against coronavirus even though they'll get the vaccine.
The health workers, including those who work within the private sector including mental health facilities
Residents within the homes for the elderly, including employees with in the same facility
The elderly aged 85 and over
Police, Armed Forces of Malta and Civil Protection Department officials
The elderly aged 80 and over
Educators and all those who work within education institutions including childcare centres
People who suffer from chronic health conditions
The elderly aged 70 and over
People aged 55 and over
Then it will be offered to the rest of the population
The first to get the vaccine;
Minister Fearne is delivering a message in English.
Like any other vaccines, in this case, a booster will be important, explained Dr Borg.
The vaccine has no virus in its composition, said Dr Borg.
Dr Borg is now addressing the press conference. He will explain details regarding the vaccine.
Regarding the new coronavirus variant, Prof. Gauci said that the Maltese Health authorities have been following the developments and that is why it was decided to include the UK in the red zone.
The vaccine will not be offered to pregnant women since not enough evidence is available at this stage.
Prof. Gauci is referring to the side effects of the vaccine. She explained that when compared to getting the virus or suffering minor side effects from the vaccine one would be better off to get the vaccine.
Prof. Gauci is now addressing the press conference.
Minister Fearne said that the vaccine will help us regain our 'normal lives'
He again appealed for the public to abide by the measures and be responsible towards others especially towards the most vulnerable.
He said that until now studies show that this variant of coronavirus gets transmitted faster.
The health Minister is now referring to the new variant of coronavirus.
Minister Fearne again reiterated the importance for everyone to receive the vaccine and appealed to those who do not wish to get it to call 145 and inform the authorities so that the dose allocated to them would be available for others.
145 is a new helpline that will be launched once Malta receives the vaccine.
Those who are to get the vaccine against coronavirus need to present their Identity Card.
Between the 1st of January and the 6th, staff and residents at SVPR will receive the vaccine. In the following days, staff in private clinics and hospitals will start receiving a letter which will invite them to get the vaccine.
Staff at Mater Dei will be receiving the vaccine on the following days as it is not possible for all the staff to get the vaccine all on the same day.
Minister Fearne said that on Sunday 27th December a nurse from the Infectious disease unit will the first to get the vaccine.
In total Malta ordered 500,000 doses.
Every Monday Malta will receive the vaccine.
He also said that the first consignment is expected to arrive n Saturday 26th December. The first batch will consist of 10,000 doses.
Minister Fearne said that it is a great achievement for Malta to be able to receive the vaccine at this stage.
He said that this is a proud moment for Malta and for him personally.
Minister Fearne announced that the EMA approved the vaccine.
The press conference is addressed also by Prof. Charmaine Gauci.
The press conference is expected to start soon.
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