68% of the vaccine doses administered up until last Sunday in Malta were doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, The Malta Independent has learnt.
Figures provided to this newsroom by the Health Ministry show that up till last Sunday, 68% of the doses administered in Malta’s vaccination drive were from the Pfizer vaccine, 28% were of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the remaining 4% were of the Moderna vaccine.
Numerically, this translates to 166,244 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 68,147 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 10,327 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The figures do not make a distinction in terms of whether the doses were first or second doses, or indeed how many people have received each vaccine.
We can ascertain, however, that the number of people who have been fully vaccinated (that is, with both doses) with the Pfizer vaccine is higher than those fully vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
This is because of the gaps recommended between each dose: the Pfizer vaccine only requires a three-week gap between doses, while the AstraZeneca vaccine requires a gap of between eight and ten weeks between doses.
All three vaccines have seen to have similarly strong effects on people’s immunity to Covid-19 after both doses are administered – although there has been concern over the AstraZeneca jab because of a very rare link to the onset of blood clots.
The total number of vaccine doses administered so far as per figures published on Thursday stands at 259,272, with 78,139 people having received both doses.
This means that a total of 181,133 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
With a population of 514,564 as per the most recent statistic published by the National Statistics Office last July, it means that 35.2% of Malta’s total population has been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.
It also means that 15.2% have received both doses of the vaccine, meaning that they are now protected from the effects of the virus.
Excluding the 16% of the Maltese population who are under 18 years of age and hence not eligible to be vaccinated just yet – none of the three of the currently approved vaccines have been certified for use on minors – then it means that 41.9% of Malta’s adult population have received at least one dose of the jab.
Health Minister Chris Fearne has said that Malta is, at the current rate, expected to achieve herd immunity by June this year – in just two months – and that they expect that the vaccine will have been offered to the whole population by mid-August.
The possible arrival of a fourth vaccine – the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine – which has been delayed over blood clot concerns, could bring that timeline even further forward.