In a press conference earlier this afternoon, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that a new vaccine has been added to the government roster for further protection against meningitis.
With over 10 cases reported each year mostly among infants, children and youths below 20, a death is also reported every two or three years because of this. Cases general aggravate in a short period of time, with all patients who contract meningitis having to be admitted to hospital for further care: "It is a powerful infection. Just like the rest of the world, Malta has it too, generally more towards winter than summer and obviously whoever hears the word 'meningitis' gets worried," the Minister said.
A few weeks ago, another new vaccine was introduced to the government roster against the second type of meningitis - Pneumococcus, which is being given in three doses to all children born from February 2020, as well as those who had already started the course but missed a dose.
In his public address, Minister Fearne explained that there were several different forms of meningitis, each caused by different microbes. The government already offers the vaccine for Haemophilus influenza free of charge, one of three most common forms of meningitis.
With the recent addition of the Pneumococcus vaccine, a second common form of meningitis, it is now the turn of the third microbe; Meningococcus, which is directly targeted by this vaccine. The Health Minister said that this totals an investment of €3 million to "better protect our children."
Furthermore, parents who'd like to vaccine their children at a private doctor will still receive the vaccine for free.