The doctors union said on Monday it was surprised and disappointed by the 'very low targets' for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout declared on Sunday, which 'alarmingly reveal mathematical predictions which are completely wrong.'

Times of Malta reported on Sunday that around 1,400 people were vaccinated against coronavirus in the first week in Malta, as the authorities target reaching ‘herd immunity’ by early summer.

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) praised the health ministry for having made arrangements to procure 500,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer, 100,000 doses from Moderna, and 1 million doses from Astrazeneca.

But it said the vast majority of healthcare professionals were feeling let down since only one out of ten had so far received the first dose of the vaccine, even though the doses were already in Malta.

"It is public knowledge that the government has in its freezers many more vaccines than (there are) front liners and about 19000 vaccines remain idle in the freezers. Clearly with proper organisation, all healthcare professionals may receive both doses in the next four weeks," the union said. 

It added that the health authorities should also aim to vaccinate the whole population as fast as possible so as to make everybody safe and to kick start economic recovery as soon as possible.

The MAM said it was alarmed that the authorities reportedly aim to provide only 5000 vaccinations per week. This, it said, would mean that vaccination of the Maltese population could take three years.

It urged the authorities to mobilize its healthcare workers to get Malta out of this crisis as soon as possible. Vaccination rates should only be limited by outside factors affecting supply and not by local inefficiencies in the organization.

It said that to vaccinate 6000 front liners in five weeks with two doses meant 342 doses must be given per day including weekends and public holidays, or better 2394 per week 

To achieve herd immunity by vaccinating vaccinate 70% of the population in five months would require 3733 vaccinations per day or 26,131 vaccinations per week.

Times of Malta reported on Sunday that the number of people vaccinated is expected to increase to 2,000 a week in the coming days and then increase exponentially to 5,000 jabs weekly, according to the health authorities.

By mid-February, the vaccination should have been administered to all front liners and those over 85 years before it is rolled out to others.

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