Those planning on getting pregnant in the coming months should wait two months after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Charmaine Gauci said on Thursday.

The Superintendent of Public Health joined journalist Claire Farrugia for the programme Ask Charmaine on Times of Malta’s Facebook page, as 15 COVID patients are being cared for at the Intensive Treatment Unit.

Answering readers’ questions about COVID-19, Prof Gauci said that vaccines pass through clinical trials and, so far, pregnant women have not been included in these studies. 

"While the vaccine producers are not saying that people should postpone their pregnancy, including through IVF, some countries such as the UK and Malta, are urging women to wait two months after taking the jab to get pregnant."

Gauci added that clinical trials on children aged under 16 have just kicked off.

The Superintendent, a doctor by profession, said that while she eagerly awaits her turn to get vaccinated, healthcare workers in direct contact with patients are being prioritised.

So are residents of all old people homes and those aged 85 and over, as the main aim of the vaccination is to decrease morbidity and mortality.

This is why the authorities have had to turn down requests for vaccination by those going to countries with a high prevalence of COVID cases, she said. 

Malta has so far received the initial batch of Pfizer vaccines, and should soon receive Moderna jabs after the European Union authorised the vaccine developed by the US drug company.

Answering a question by George Dawson, the superintendent said people will not be able to choose between the two vaccines.

She assured that the two vaccines are very similar, with the only difference being that the second dose of the Pfizer jab is administered 21 days after the first one, while the Moderna doses are given 28 days apart.

Gauci noted that people who are vaccinated against COVID are immediately monitored for 15 minutes for any side effects, however, the health authorities have enough capacity to vaccinate thousands of people.

Just like we vaccinated thousands of people against the flu within a week, we'll be able to vaccinate thousands once we have the doses available, she added. 

Is the new variant more contagious among children?

Gauci noted that experts were still looking into the new variant of COVID, and the only sure thing so far was that it is 70 per cent more contagious, automatically increasing the R factor by 0.4.

Children usually make up five per cent of the detected COVID-19 cases, and the same seems to apply to the new variant. 

Over the past months, very few children have been admitted to hospital, and children are usually not impacted severely unless they have underlying conditions. 

Malta has so far detected three cases of the new variant and the authorities are waiting for results of genetic sequencing carried out over the past week, Gauci said. 

The main symptom of the new variant remains respiratory issues.

Thursday's Ask Charmaine episode comes as Malta's death toll reached 228 and the island recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 224 new patients on Wednesday. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne has warned that more restrictive public health measures could be announced in the coming days if the numbers continue to rise.

Three appeals: get tested, don't send sick children to school, download the app

Gauci expressed concern about a drop in the number of people being tested for the virus.

There might be asymptomatic people who are mingling with others and unknowingly passing on the virus. 

Answering questions about the teachers' strike called on Wednesday, Gauci said her team passed on the information about new cases to the education authorities, who were the best placed to take decisions about teaching.

She also called on parents not to send their children to school if they were unwell.

Have any questions to ask the superintendent? Send an e-mail to

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