The health authorities will be doubling the number of vaccination centres to 20 in the coming weeks as the number of COVID-19 jab doses available is set to increase significantly in February. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne made the announcement while visiting ongoing works on a new healthcare centre in Paola. 

Fearne said that from the current 10, the number of centres will be going up to 20 soon, but did not provide details about their location. 

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

By the end of the week, he said, all those over 85 who are mobile will have been given the first dose of the COVID-19 jab. On Monday, the health authorities will start giving the vaccine to those over 85 who cannot leave their homes as well as to cancer patients who are about to start chemotherapy. The vaccine is less effective when a patient is undergoing chemotherapy, Fearne said. 

He also reiterated plans to vaccinate non-medical frontliners in the coming weeks, including police officers, CPD officers, prison wardens and then teachers.

On issues with Pfizer, which has delayed shipments of the vaccine across Europe, Fearne said the Maltese authorities had been in touch with the company and assurances were given that the missing doses will be shipped soon. Malta is not yet following in the footsteps of Italy, which is seeking legal action against Pfizer, he said.

Referring to the variants, especially that emerging in the UK of which Malta detected three cases, Fearne said at present there were no plans to stop flights between the two countries. 

Travellers from the UK are only being permitted in Malta if they are Maltese nationals or are residents. Those coming to the island must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. 

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