Malta has just surpassed Israel to clinch the top spot as the world’s most vaccinated country in the world, TheJournal.mt can confirm.
The news comes as more than 7,700 people have been inoculated in the past 24 hours. The arrival and administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has accelerated Malta’s vaccination drive as the vaccine requires only one dose.
Up until now, Israel has been dominating world vaccination ratings for months after securing a staggering number of Pfizer doses, even before the EU did. The EU lagged behind Israel and the UK, as both countries were advancing at an impressive rate due to their agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca respectively.
In a comment to TheJournal.mt, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Chris Fearne said that “This is not a race between countries but a race between the vaccine and the virus. The vaccine in Malta is in pole position! We are winning back our normality one jab at a time. It remains imperative that all those eligible, register to be vaccinated so we can continue to achieve this amazing success.”
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 convertedlarge 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, avoidingsupply 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.
This milestone is considered a huge step in Malta’s road to normality.