The Medical Association of Malta is urging the government to speed up COVID-19 vaccination, insisting that all healthcare professionals should be vaccinated within five weeks.

In a statement on Monday, MAM said that while the "very slow pace" of 50 daily vaccinations was acceptable for the first couple of days, until the correct procedures were put into place, the Health Ministry should "ramp up the vaccination rates significantly to exceed 300 doses daily.

"This would have to be escalated to thousands per day once the general population starts being vaccinated."

Malta kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Sunday, after the first batch of the jab, manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, arrived in Malta on Saturday.

The government has already said that while a limited number of people were vaccinated on Sunday,  efforts will be ramped up over the coming weeks and increased tenfold from 2,000 people a week to 20,000. 

Around 600,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine - enough to inoculate 300,000 people - will be shipped to Malta over the coming weeks.

On Monday MAM said healthcare professionals wishing to be vaccinated should receive their first dose within the next two weeks and the second one within the first five weeks.  

While encouraging its members to take the vaccine, it urged the government to "keep up with the demand".

The association said it was encouraging that 70 per cent of Maltese residents were willing to take the vaccine, "considering that half a million people in the United Kingdom had been vaccinated, and over a million doses have been administered in the United States without any major problems."

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