The government has dispelled rumours that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered by pharmacies, saying that “no agreement with any pharmacy has been or will be made to provide the vaccine”.
This newsroom contacted the health authorities, as well as a number of pharmacies across Malta, in an attempt to clarify the situation after messages were making the rounds on Whatsapp which read that some pharmacies were setting up a waiting list for the vaccine which would be provided against a doctor’s fee, even mentioning the brand of vaccine that will be used once made available to them.
A number of the pharmacies contacted by this newsroom said that their doctors had plans to administer the vaccine privately in exchange for a fee which would cover the administration of the vaccine. The vaccine itself would be free of charge, they said.
No contacted pharmacy knew exactly when the vaccine would be administered in such a way, nor did they know exactly how much the fee would cost.
One pharmacy said that they were composing a waiting list of patients interested in receiving the vaccine. Once the vaccine would arrive in Malta, these patients would be contacted one by one, it said.
Another pharmacy said that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be supplied to them by Malta’s NHS service and then given to patients by their respective doctors.
Another pharmacy, however, was in the dark about the private distribution of the vaccine, saying that they had no plans to distribute the vaccine, nor did they know of any other pharmacies that planned to distribute it either.
The health ministry was also contacted about the matter, however it was made clear that they had no agreement with any pharmacies in Malta to administer the vaccine and said that “they won’t be able” to give the vaccine.
Any pharmacies that have conducted any plans to administer the vaccine or conduct any waiting lists “have been reported to the medicines authority”, the health ministry confirmed. “On our side, these pharmacies were reported”.
It was made clear that the government will not be giving any vaccines to pharmacies.
GPs will eventually be applying to be able to administer the vaccines, but the GPs will be the ones responsible for the vaccines and will be the ones to pick up the vaccines. Pharmacies will not come into the equation, this newsroom is informed. GPs will also not be able to select the brand of the vaccine they will be given, this newsroom was told.