Updated Monday 6.30am with Air Malta comments and video

The first consignment of the Moderna vaccine reached Malta in the early hours on Monday.

Air Malta said in a statement that the first shipment of the COVID vaccine had arrived from Brussels, and more such consignments are expected in the coming weeks.

Video: Air Malta

The national airline said that it has spent the past months preparing to carry these consignments by acquiring the necessary certification and updating its operational processes and procedures.

Such changes have also enabled the Air Malta to use the passengers’ cabin to carry humanitarian and medical equipment and supplies in an expedited manner, maximising the capacity of the airline’s fleet.

“We are thrilled to be part of this global effort to transport this vaccine and help
our islands achieve immunity against this disease which has caused so much suffering to the world’s population," Air Malta’s Executive Chairman, David G. Curmi, said upon the arrival of the vaccine at Malta International Airport.

"COVID-19 has thrown the air transport industry into a deep crisis, but the industry will ultimately be the main driver to help end this pandemic."

On Sunday Health Minister Chris Fearne thanked the national airline in a tweet.

Speaking during a political activity earlier, Fearne announced it will arrive on Sunday.

Fearne said the government had been working flat out since last year to acquire enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. He said Malta would be the first EU country to receive the Moderna vaccine. 

The vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency last week. 

Fearne dismissed “invented stories” about fights between himself and Prime Minister Robert Abela about how to handle the pandemic. 

“We are one team. The Prime Minister and I are on the same page. We take decisions together”, Fearne said. 

The Health Minister said the government would not hesitate to introduce further restrictions if needed. 

He said the aim was to have two-thirds of the population inoculated by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by September. 

Fearne vowed that efforts were being made to speed up these timelines by acquiring even more doses of the vaccine.

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