Malta has just become the first country in Europe to reach COVID-19 herd immunity. This has been confirmed by Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne moments ago.
With over 70% of the population given at least one dose, Malta has reached the herd immunity target one month earlier than predicted by the health authorities, and four months earlier than the target put to Member States by the European Commission.
Speaking to the media, Mr Fearne called on the public to remain cautious and to keep observing the guidelines issued by the health authorities.
Nine days ago, TheJournal.mt revealed that Malta had surpassed Israel to take the lead as the most vaccinated country. Up until yesterday, a total of 474,475 doses had been administered, with the number growing every minute, estimated at one dose per 5 seconds.
For the last few months, Malta has been hailed as the most successful EU Member State in its vaccination rollout. Making use of its strong health system with a dense network of health centres across the island, it also converted large facilities with ample open spaces, like those at the University of Malta and MCAST, into temporary vaccination centres.
Another decision that reaped the desired fruit was that Malta did not hedge its fortunes on one vaccine, avoiding supply issues. While most EU Member States hedged their bets on the AstraZeneca jab which is the easiest to administer, Malta procured enough doses of all the available vaccines. This prompted Italian newspapers and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to complain that Malta was receiving too many doses, compared to its population.