COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the winter season are already on order, Health Minister Chris Fearne told parliament on Monday. 

Fearne said it was not yet known for how long the vaccines would offer immunity. 

Therefore, the government had already made arrangements for booster shots to be delivered to Malta in autumn. 

Fearne said that if the elderly, or even the entire population needed booster shots, these were already on order. 

The Health Minister added that the government was increasing its refrigeration facilities to be able to store more vaccine doses. 

“God willing, we will not need it,” Fearne said. 

He said the health authorities would remain vigilant for new variants of the virus. 

So far, the various vaccines work against all variants, Fearne assured. 

Fearne said genome sequencing was being carried out on all positive cases to detect any new variants. 

Giving a rundown of the vaccination programme, Fearne said Malta was expected to reach herd immunity in the coming weeks. 

He also said that registration for the vaccine to all people in Malta over the age of 16 would be opened in May. 

This would make Malta the first EU country to open up the vaccine to the entire population, second only to Israel on a global level. 

Currently, registration is open for all those over thirty

56% of those in their 30s vaccinated or registered

So far, 56 per cent of those in their 30s have been vaccinated or have registered for the vaccine and will be vaccinated in the coming days.

Fearne said the government was also awaiting the European Medicines Authority’s advice on whether to authorise the vaccine for those aged between 12 and 15. 

The Health Minister said the government would continue lifting COVID-19 measures in a studied manner if cases remained low, while keeping up the aggressive vaccination programme. 

He added that the government’s economic intervention early in the pandemic has helped save 100,000 jobs. 

Fearne said Malta had gone into the pandemic in a position of strength, due to its strong economic growth over the past seven years. 

He said once the wage supplement is lifted, the economy would be strong enough to ensure unemployment remained low. 

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