Children as young as six months can now be vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Wednesday. 

It comes after the EU's drug watchdog approved a number of coronavirus vaccines for young children back in October. 

Children aged between six months and four years will be offered a three-dose regimen, Fearne said, clarifying that they will be provided with the “original” vaccine and not the boosters.

“We will now be extending the age of those who can take the COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as six months,” he said. 

Fearne did not say which type of vaccine children would be given but the European Medicines Authority recommended using lower doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the youngest children. 

Both vaccines work by preparing the body to defend itself against COVID-19 so that if the child is exposed to the virus, his or her immune system will recognise it and be ready to defend the body against it.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said parents can attend the following clinics for their children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from 2.30pm-6.30pm:

  • Floriana Health centre, every Thursday;
  • Mosta Health Centre every Tuesday; 
  • Paola Health Centre and Xewkija, Gozo Health Centre every Wednesday.

Common mild side effects for young children include irritability, sleepiness, loss of appetite, rash and tenderness at the injection site. 

The EMA's human medicines committee concluded that the benefits of vaccinating children aged from 6 months to 4 and 5 years outweighed the risk.

According to the World Health Organisation, children and adolescents are generally at low risk of infection from the virus and if they become infected, it is likely to be mild.

30 cases a day 

Fearne said an average of 30 new COVID-19 cases are recorded daily.

There are 18 patients in the hospital with the virus but none are in the intensive treatment unit. According to public health data, there are 343 active cases of the virus in Malta. 

“A large number of people have taken the vaccines and that translates a high immunity in the community,” he said. 

“Of course, COVID will remain with us and most likely become a seasonal virus.”

Fearne said the authorities have been providing flu and Omicron vaccine doses for free since October and called for those who still have not gone to go and get jabbed. 

He said over 120,000 flu and Omicron vaccine doses have been administered. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.