Health Minister Chris Fearne described the news that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had approved a COVID-19 vaccine for young children as "great", with Malta now expected to roll out the jab in the coming weeks. 

The EMA announced on Thursday it had approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. This will be the first vaccine cleared for use among the age group. The Pfizer vaccine had been approved for children older than 12 in summer.

Reacting, Health Minister Chris Fearne hailed this as "great news". 

"Another triumph for science," he tweeted. 

Ahead of the vaccine being approved, public health chief Charmaine Gauci said the administration of the vaccines for children will start "within weeks" in Malta as soon as the vaccines arrive through the EU joint procurement programme.

The vaccine, she said, will be specially tailored for children, with only a third of the regular dose. 

Malta is currently in the process of administering booster doses to older cohorts after it was established that immunity from the initial doses wanes after a few months. 

Those in their 50s will be vaccinated in December with registration opening on Monday. The elderly, teachers and healthcare workers have already been offered the jab. 

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