The Malta Union of Teachers has said it trusts health authorities’ decision on which vaccines to administer to teachers and will not question their plans unless it had information that a particular jab was ineffective. 

The union’s comments came after a rival union – the Union of Professional Educators (UPE) – expressed concern that teachers were to be given the AstraZeneca vaccine. The UPE has argued that teachers should not be given that vaccine, as it is less effective than others being administered. 

Malta is currently administering vaccines by three manufacturers - Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer are more than 90 per cent effective while studies have shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine shows 76 per cent efficacy after one dose.

In Malta, the AstraZeneca vaccine is only being given to under 55s, following concerns about a lack of evidence showing its effectiveness when given to older patients. 

Non-medical frontliners younger than 55 years old are the first to be receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Teachers will start getting vaccinated this week

In comments later, the MUT also said it was informed that the roll-out among educators and school staff was advancing swiftly and the first groups will be vaccinated this week. 

“The MUT is following the process closely and will help the authorities in any way necessary,” the union said. 

The union also said it had communicated with the public health team who assured it the vaccination process for teachers is no different to that for other frontliners and vulnerable people within the community. 

Issues such as where the Gozitan educators would be getting the jab have been ironed out, the MUT said. Those in Gozo will get vaccinated on the island despite earlier appointments asking people to travel to Malta for the jab. 

All vaccines are effective - Charmaine Gauci

Meanwhile, in comments to Times of Malta, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said all the COVID-19 vaccines being administered “have the aim of preventing serious disease caused by COVID-19 infection”. 

“The vaccine brands may have different mechanisms for producing antibodies against COVID-19 but all are safe, good quality and effective. So, the public will not be given a choice as to the type of vaccine they will receive,” Gauci said. 

Over 66,000 vaccine doses had been administered by Monday, with some 21,000 of those being booster jabs. 

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