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Malta leads EU’s vaccination drive

Malta leads EU’s vaccination drive

Bolt Malta donates EUR 10,000 in trips to help vulnerable people receive the jab

Malta, EU’s smallest and least populous member state, is emerging as a leader in the union’s unevenly-paced Covid-19 vaccination campaign. According to data provided by statista.com, as of February 14, 2021, 11.36 doses of vaccine per 100 population have been administered in the island nation, compared to 6.87 in second-place Denmark and 6.36 in Cyprus.

55,000 people inoculated

During a press briefing devoted to the national vaccination programme, the Minister for Health, Chris Fearne, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, said on Tuesday that over 55,000 people have been inoculated so far in Malta, of which 18,000 have received the second shot.

Dr Fearne, quoted by TVM, informed that all medical frontliners (top priority group) who wished to be inoculated have been given the jab. Now, the vaccine rollout continues with non-medical frontline workers, persons aged over 80 and all those of any age who are vulnerable or have serious medical conditions. The vaccinating of persons who have to accompany patients overseas for medical treatment will also begin, he added.

Although children cannot be inoculated, appointments will be given to parents who have vulnerable offspring. Dr Fearne  further explained that from the end of February and the beginning of March inoculations will be administered to those employed in essential sectors, including energy, water, postal services, transport, and schools. The minister also announced that the inoculation programme will advance by three weeks from the planned schedule.

Bolt gives a helping hand

Bolt Malta has donated EUR 10,000 in free trips for vulnerable persons to assist them in going to and coming back from vaccination centres, reports TVM. The project is led by TXF Tech, Bolt partner in Malta, Cyprus and Tunisia. The Estonian provider of hire, micromobility and food delivery services on four continents is calling for other companies to follow this gesture.  

UK - EU vaccine row

Commendable as it is, Malta’s performance pales to that of Serbia, which had carried out 13.97 doses per 100 population, largely thanks to fast Russian and Chinese vaccine rollout, and the United Kingdom which has the highest vaccination rate in Europe with 22.98 doses administered per 100 people. The UK was the first country in Europe to greenlight the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for widespread use and began inoculations as early as 8 December, 2020, while the vaccination drive inside the EU proceeded at a slow and uneven pace.

This led to tensions culminating in an EC threat to activate a clause in the Brexit deal in order to stop unauthorised vaccine exports reaching the UK through the Irish border. Meanwhile, a growing number of EU countries are taking Brussels to task for allegedly dragging its feet when it came to signing vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical companies.

Statistical data, however, has to be taken with a pinch of salt. The UK may be ahead of the rest of Europe on total vaccinations, but what matters is getting a full coverage of two doses against Covid-19, so keeping track of the percentage of the population fully vaccinated may be more indicative, comments EuroNews. Here, Malta is again the leader in Europe with 3,6 percent of the population fully vaccinated, while the UK is close to the bottom with 0,8 percent.

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