Health Minister Chris Fearne, Source: Government of Malta

Malta to booster jab immunosuppressed people

Malta to booster jab immunosuppressed people

Seniors aged 70 and over will also be offered a third dose

From 6 September, health authorities will start issuing invitations for a third vaccine dose to Maltese residents with a weakened immune system, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced at a news conference.

Pfizer/Moderna booster jab even for AstraZeneca vaccinees

Vaccines for this group, including chemotherapy patients, leukaemia sufferers, people with HIV, and organ donors, will be administered at the University of Malta vaccination centre. Based on research, they will be given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose, even if their first two doses were AstraZeneca.

Residents of elderly care homes will also be booster jabbed from 6 September – one week earlier than originally planned. Dr Fearne explained that two clusters had surfaced in recent days in two nursing homes where a total of 14 residents, although vaccinated, had tested positive for the virus.

The minister also announced that from the first week of October a booster dose will start being offered to all persons in the community aged 70 and older. For the rest, the current advice will apply.

ECDC and EMA: No urgent need for booster doses

Based on current evidence, there is no urgent need for the administration of booster doses of vaccines to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population, concludes a technical report issued on 1 September by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The report also notes that additional doses should nevertheless be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems as part of their primary vaccination. In this regard, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advises Member States to consider preparatory plans for administering boosters and additional doses, while the agency assesses the relevant data.

Vaccination matters

Dr Fearne painted a picture of a “strong and tireless virus”, with the Delta variant causing a surge of infections worldwide, from France to Australia and the US, where planned operations are being postponed because of the large number of infected patients.

It is here that one can see the difference between countries with a vaccinated population and others with a low vaccine uptake, he said. In Malta, over 90 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and active cases are just over 700. There are 34 patients receiving treatment at Mater Dei and only two are in the intensive care unit, despite the Delta variant, the minister informed, as quoted by TVM.



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