All those aged 50 and over will have received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Wednesday.  

Addressing a press conference at Mater Dei Hospital, Fearne said the vaccine booster program is around three weeks ahead of schedule. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci told  Times of Malta that the authorities were looking to accelerate the booster shot roll-out.  

Giving an overview of the situation, Fearne said that at present, all those aged over 70 have been given the opportunity to get their booster dose.

Some, however, may not have yet taken up this opportunity, and Fearne urged these people to call 145 for an appointment.  

Fearne said six months must elapse between the second dose and the provision of a booster shot. Therefore there may be some over the age of 60, he said, who will not have received an appointment for the time being.

Meanwhile, Fearne said there are around 6,000 people who are unable to leave their homes to receive the booster shot.

Health officials have already visited around 4,500 homes to administer shots, he said.  

Those aged between 60 and 69 have now started to receive their booster jabs, with around a third of this cohort already fully covered.  

The next age group in the authorities’ site are those aged over 50.

These will be able to register for their booster jab as of Monday November 29 on vaccin.gov.mt

“It is now very clear that booster shots work so it it important that everyone signs up and gets the jab,” Fearne said.  

Meanwhile, Fearne also announced that the government is expecting the European Medicines Agency to issue a decision on the administration of the vaccine to children aged over five on Thursday.

Once that happens, the administration of the vaccines for children will begin soon after as Malta is poised to receive a special shipment of the vaccines, which are tailor-made for children.  

Giving an overview of the COVID-19 situation, the health minister, a surgeon, said that across the globe the pandemic was at its worst, in terms of new cases and deaths.

In Malta, numbers have risen from zero a few months ago to 86 new cases on Wednesday.  

Despite this, Fearne said there were no plans to introduce any new restrictions.  

The number of hospitalisations, he said, remained undercontrol and there is no stress on the Intensive Treatment Unit.  

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