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Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Monday that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use among EU member states.

In the coming hours, the European Commission is expected to approve the vaccine’s roll out, while Minister Fearne said that as things stand, the first batches of the vaccine will arrive in Malta next Saturday.

On Sunday, a nurse from Mater Dei’s infectious diseases unit will be the first Maltese person to be vaccinated.

ITU and IDU staff members, those working in the emergency department and others working with COVID-19 patients will begin to be vaccinated as from this Sunday. Eventually, all hospital workers will receive the vaccine.

Vaccination of primary healthcare workers and swabbing centre staff will start from next Monday.

Each Monday, Malta is expected to receive batches of 10,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, until its full order of 500,000 is reached.

Those aged over 85 will start receiving their inoculation letters from 7th January and will be given the date and time for their first and second shots, as the vaccination requires two shots to be effective.

A helpline – 145 – has been launched to help anyone with queries on the vaccine process.

People will also be sent a letter explaining the importance of taking the vaccine, which will be given for free and is not mandatory.

Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, appealed for everybody to take the vaccine, arguing that the impact of COVID-19 far outweighs any possible side effects of receiving the vaccine.

Minister Fearne said that the Government is “very hopeful” the vaccine will have an impact and pave the way back to normality.

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