Twenty-one new COVID-19 vaccination centres have been set up by the health authorities, raising the total number of centres to 31. 

The news comes a day after the first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by a British-Swedish company arrived in Malta. AstraZeneca is the third vaccine to arrive in Malta, following Pfizer and Moderna. 

On social media, both Prime Minister Robert Abela and Health Minister Fearne hailed the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine as another important milestone.

Fearne had first revealed plans to significantly increase the number of vaccination centres last month.

The new vaccination centres are at the community clincs in Attard, Vittoriosa, Sliema  Żurrieq, Żebbuġ, Ħamrun, Mellieħa, Żejtun, Fġura, Dinġli, Żabbar, Pieta and Kerċem as well as Qormi Gynae Clinic, Birkirkara Physiotherapy clinic and the offices of the Pharmacy of your choice (POYC) in Paola.

Vaccination centres have also been set up near local council offices in Msida, San Ġwann and Naxxar. 

A second vaccination centre has been opened within Floriana Health Centre (third entrance) and Gzira also has a second site, in the upper part of St.Albert Street. On Sunday, elderly were left waiting over an hour at Gżira health centre for vaccine doses to arrive. 

The vaccinations programme started at the end of December and 39,257 doses have been administered so far. That number includes 9,918 second doses.

Health Minister Chris Fearne has said that the roll-out of the vaccines is limited only by the supply. The authorities have said, however, that the arrival of the third vaccine had pushed the programme forward by two weeks. 

Most front-liners and people over 85 have now received as least one jab. Those aged 80-84 and others suffering from serious chronic diseases are being notified of their appointments this week. 

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