Fabian Demicoli

What does herd immunity mean for business?

Malta has vaccinated 70% of its adult population with at least one COVID-19 shot

Malta has vaccinated 70% of its adult population with at least one COVID-19 shot, becoming the first European Union country to achieve so-called herd immunity.

During an MCESD meeting, the meeting was addressed by Prof Michael Borg, Head of the Departments of Infection Control.

SME Chamber President Paul Abela and CEO Abigail Mamo attended the meeting and put forward the most important concerns and frequently asked questions that the SME Chamber receives from its members.

The following are the main points that came out of this meeting:

Vaccination programme update  

  • A vaccination strategy that started in December
  • Total vaccinations as at today 438K – Currently an average of 7,000 doses administered a day
  • There is very limited vaccine hesitance, but now that itargeting lower age groups this might increase slightly
  • Malta has vaccinated over 60% of the population and is today the single country with the highest 1st dose administered per capita, exceeding Israel, UK and all other countries.
  • Malta is just behind 5 other countries, namely, Israel, UAE, Bahrain, Chile and the US, when it comes to 2nd dose. The first dose is however the most crucial.

Herd immunity  

  • From Israel’s experience we are able to assess the success of vaccinations.
  • Vaccines are avoiding 85-92% of serious cases (ending in hospital) when compared to before a person had the vaccine.
  • Like any jab it does not protect 100% and one can still get Covid with mild or no symptoms.
  • From Israel’s experience we know that who is vaccinated and gets Covid has 50% less chance of passing it on to someone else.
  • With over 70% vaccinated Malta will see a drastic decrease in contagion, including of the new variant present so far.
  • Malta will be the first country reaching heard immunity. This will be achieved any time now and up to 3 weeks maximum.

 

The Covid Variants 

  • As far as taking away the seriousness of the illness the vaccines appear to be equally effective on all the variants present at the moment.
  • Each variant however appears to be more transmittable than the original virus. The UK variant was more transmittable than the original virus and the Indian variant is more transmittable than the UK one, and so on and so forth.
  • So far the new variants we know about do not appear to pose a threat to herd immunity.

 

Green Pass 

  • Will become a requirement for travelling. The Green Pass will not require a test or quarantine.
  • The safety of the Green Pass as a strategy is still being analysed, yet the model, if found effected, would be used to return close to normality for a higher-risk activities.

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