“By end February all Mater Dei staff expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19”
More than fifty Mater Dei Hospital employees – all frontliners working closely with covid patients – today received a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in keeping with the three week gap between one dose and another. The Medical Director of Mater Dei Hospital – Walter Busuttil told TVM that by Wednesday all the staff who are in direct contact with patients will have taken the first dose, with all the Mater Dei staff expected to have taken both doses by the last week of February.
Nurse Rachel Grech was the first person in Malta to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Three weeks after the first dose, a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine was given Sunday morning at 8.00, thereby achieving the highest level of immunity against the virus at the level of 90 to 95%. Grech told TVM that since taking the first dose she has continued with her usual routine.
“After taking the first dose I felt very good. I attended work every day. I was a little tired at first, for about two days. But I attended work regularly, without experiencing any changes. ”
Rachel Grech’s work at the Infectious Diseases Department of Mater Dei Hospital puts her into direct contact with Covid patients. She said that recently her workload had increased and reiterated the call for everyone to be vaccinated when asked to do so.
“We have seen an increase in cases. The work has not stopped but has increased. I would like to make an appeal now that the Carnival is coming, for people to be more careful and follow the measures so that we keep the numbers down as much as possible.”
The medical director of Mater Dei Hospital, Walter Busuttil, said that between 250 and 300 vaccines are being given at the hospital every day. The vaccine was first given to clinical staff, those in direct contact with any patient who said they would all have taken the first dose by next Wednesday.
“In two weeks’ time the whole hospital and all the staff at the hospital, both clinical and non-clinical, will be vaccinated with the first full dose. From today we will start giving the second dose to the group of people who took the dose three weeks ago, meaning we are estimating that in about five weeks time’ ( three weeks after the next two weeks) we will have all the staff vaccinated. ”
The second dose is being reserved for each person who takes the first dose and thus ensures that the second one is given on time even if there are external delays that the local authorities have no control over. Television Malta asked Dr Busuttil if after ten days from taking the second dose, the vaccinated person is free not to follow the prevention measures.
“No, you can’t. The reason is that no vaccine is 100%, so even though you’ve taken the first and second dose and ten days have passed, there is still a percentage that you can still get infected. We only have a few months experience of this disease – less than a year, so we don’t know how it will affect that group who get the infection 0 how it will affect them in the long term. ”
He stressed that measures such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and washing hands should continue to be observed by all.