Wed, 23 Jun 2021

People wearing masks walk on a street of Valletta, capital of Malta, Oct. 16, 2020. (Photo by Jonathan Borg/Xinhua)

The most vulnerable members of the population will be the first to be jabbed, including those over 85-year-old, healthcare workers in hospitals and those who provide home care for the elderly, said Health Minister Chris Fearne.

VALLETTA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Malta will start a vaccination program against the COVID-19 virus on Dec. 27, local media reported Friday.

The inoculation, which was previously set to start on Jan. 7, has been rescheduled to begin the same day as other European Union countries, Health Minister Chris Fearne told local newspaper Times of Malta.

Fearne's remarks came a day after the EU announced that it will kick off inoculation on Dec. 27 across member states.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will convene on Monday to evaluate the vaccine jointly developed by Germany's BioNTech and America's Pfizer.

A hairdresser cuts hair for a customer, both wearing face masks, at a hair salon in St Julian's, Malta, on May 22, 2020. (Photo by Jonathan Borg/Xinhua)

Initially, only small batches will arrive on the island considering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be transported in very low temperatures, he said.

"We're going to consider the first few days as a Europe-wide test run. Once the number of doses we receive increases, we will keep on going according to our schedule in the weeks and months to come," he said.

Fearne said the most vulnerable members of the population will be the first to be jabbed, including those over 85-year-old, healthcare workers in hospitals and those who provide home care for the elderly.

The government announced earlier this month that the following batches will then be distributed on levels of priority, including those in their eighties, remaining frontliners, people with chronic illnesses, those in their seventies, school workers, and younger people. ■

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