Malta says it has reached ‘herd immunity’ in its vaccination programme. The holiday island’s health minister says that 70 per cent of the population has received a Covid jab – but only 42 per cent has gotten both doses of the vaccine.
“Today we have reached herd immunity. The vaccine is our weapon against the virus. It means that the virus’ transmission — even if the virus is still among us — has decreased significantly,” said Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.
Fearne also stated that the vaccination rollout has resulted in a 95 per cent reduction in hospitalisations. Malta is on the EU’s green list of countries – along with Iceland and parts of Norway and Finland. All other European countries are either red or amber (Ireland is amber).
While Malta’s vaccine rollout is among the most advanced in the world, it still lags behind countries like the Seychelles and Israel, none of whom have explicitly claimed herd immunity.
Malta reopens to international tourism next week, and will adopt a traffic light system for visitors. Vaccinated visitors will not need a PCR test.
In April, it announced that it will offer cash incentives to visitors in an effort to recoup pandemic-related tourism losses. The Incentives for Free Independent Travellers (FIT) scheme is administered by Malta Tourism Authority who will offer cash incentives valued up to €200 per person depending on the quality of hotel they book into.