Updated at 1.30pm with MUT statement.
Teachers and a number of other essential workers will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine between the end of this month and the start of March, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference, Fearne said doses of the vaccine will start being given to teachers and other school staff, postal workers, those working in national transport, and employees working in the country’s energy and water provision.
Although he did not give details of how these will be rolled out, Fearne said the move came three weeks ahead of schedule.
Teachers were bumped up the vaccine eligibility list last month following a two-day strike.
In a statement shortly after the press conference, the Malta Union of Teachers, which had called the two-day strike, said it was informed that the process to vaccinate school personnel has started, with communication issued to the first batch of educators and other school staff.
The MUT said it would take a few weeks for the vaccines to start being administered and it would be cooperating with the health authorities to ensure a swift roll-out.
Fearne said the health authorities would on Tuesday exceed 55,000 doses administered, with some 16,000 people having already taken a second and final dose of the jab.
The minister told parliament on Monday that 91 per cent of medical frontliners have been vaccinated.
Parents of vulnerable children will start receiving vaccination appointment letters this week, he added on Tuesday. Appointments will start being issued as of Wednesday.
Fearne said that currently there was no vaccine available in Malta for children under 16 years of age with serious chronic illness.
"Given that we do not have enough data on the vaccination of people under the age of 16, we will instead prioritise their parents to give an added layer of protection,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister also announced that Malta will be offering inoculation for family members joining patients for treatment overseas.
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