Malta announces herd immunity

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Malta has become the first EU country to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population with at least one dose of Covid-19, according to its health minister. “We have achieved herd immunity today,” Minister Chris Fearne said at a press conference. More than 475,000 doses of vaccine have been administered so far in the country of about 500,000 people, according to health ministry data.

According to Fearne, of people over 16, just under 42 percent have been vaccinated. In Malta, the number of new Corona infections dropped sharply in recent months. Every citizen over the age of 16 is currently eligible for vaccination. Of those over 60, 95 percent have already been vaccinated. Beginning July 1, the government plans to relax rules on wearing mouth-to-nose coverings if Corona case numbers remain low, according to Fearne. People who have been vaccinated should then no longer have to wear the protection when they are out alone, for example. At beaches, the mask requirement is to be dropped as early as June 1.

The vaccination rates of most EU countries are far from the level in Malta. Hungary is the only other EU member to have vaccinated slightly more than half of its population at least once. In Bulgaria, on the other hand, just over ten percent of the population has been vaccinated for the first time. In Germany, as of Saturday, 13.6 percent of the population has already been fully vaccinated. 39.9 percent have received at least one of the spikes so far.

Whether and, if so, when herd immunity will be achieved is not clear. Estimates at the beginning of the Corona epidemic assumed that the entire population would be protected and the spread of the virus stopped when about two-thirds of the population was immune. However, with the variants of the virus that are now prevalent, the required rate could be higher and thus hardly achievable through vaccination campaigns. Scientists like Christian Drosten in Germay, assume that all non-vaccinated people in Germany will become infected over time. In addition, it is unclear how long the immune protection lasts with vaccinations and survived infections. New mutations could also arise, so that herd immunity never occurs.

  • source: ntv.de/picture: pixabay.com
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