Malta is to ship 135,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to Rwanda this week, the permanent secretary at the Foreign Ministry has said.

Christopher Cutajar said in a tweet that the ministry is liaising with Air Malta to send the vaccines to the African country.

"This shows Malta's commitment in being at the forefront in this global fight against the pandemic. No-one is safe until everyone is safe!," he wrote.

Malta also shipped 40,000 vaccines and 40,000 virus test kits to Libya in August.

Rwanda has so far vaccinated just 15% of its population. It has received around 3.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – 1.1 million of these from the COVAX Facility (an international collaboration of donor countries), 108,000 from the Africa Centres for Disease Control’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust and 2.1 million from bilateral agreements.  

Speaking in parliament in February, Health Minister Chris Fearne said Malta had secured double the number of COVID-19 vaccines needed to inoculate the entire country and planned on donating or selling its surplus jabs.

"We will be giving doses of the vaccine to countries that would probably not even have started inoculating citizens by the time Malta will have already finished. That is our plan in action," he said. 

The World Health Organisation has urged member states to donate virus jabs to countries which do not have any, before going on to administer booster jabs to their populations. Although Malta has started administering booster jabs to the vulnerable sectors of its population, it has been using Pfizer vaccines. 

At the end of September Malta said it was recognising vaccination certificates issued by Rwanda. 

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