Malta has become the first European country to achieve “herd immunity” against the emerging Covid-19, after it officially announced, on last Monday, that more than 70 percent of its adult population had been vaccinated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Maltese Health Minister Chris Verne said in a statement on Monday: “Today we have come to achieve herd immunity. Vaccination is our weapon against this virus. ” He added, “As of next July, wearing masks in the open air will be optional for those who have received full vaccinations, and further restrictions are planned, and vaccination certificates will also be presented in the coming days.”
More than 475,000 vaccination doses have been given in Malta, and so far the second dose has been administered to 42% of the population.
In the vaccination process, the Maltese health authorities used five vaccines approved in the European Union: “Pfizer”, “Biontech”, “AstraZeneca”, “Moderna” and “Johnson & Johnson”.
The high vaccination rate in Malta was clearly reflected in the rates of infection with the Coronavirus; As the European island has become, the lowest in infection rates among all European Union countries, with about 25 injuries per 100,000 people, and no deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded in the last three weeks there. In the race to achieve this goal, UK, Hungary, and Iceland are currently competing.
Herd immunity means that a large proportion of people have immunity against this virus, and therefore it is difficult to transmit it from one person to another, which limits its movement, and accordingly the whole society becomes protected, not only those with immunity.
In order to achieve herd immunity, the required percentage of the vaccinated population varies according to the type of disease and its spread, as some diseases require vaccination of up to 95%, such as measles, or 80% for polio. As for the Coronavirus, there is still a scientific disagreement about the required percentage due to the novelty of the disease, but its capacity is about 70% of people.