Vaccination

Malta to Drop Vaccine Entry Requirement Later this Month

Malta will axe its quarantine rules for unvaccinated Brits later this month in a further boost for holidaymakers to the popular destination. The Standard has more.

Currently the U.K. is on Malta’s red list, meaning only fully vaccinated Britons can visit for holidays without having to quarantine.

Unjabbed Britons have had to isolate at a designated hotel for 14 days on arrival, but that rule will be dropped on April 11th, meaning anyone arriving from a red list country to Malta can visit quarantine free.

However, those who are not fully jabbed against Covid will still need to show either proof of a negative PCR test or proof of Covid recovery within 180 days.

Vaccine certificates will no longer be required to attend standing outdoor events or seated indoor gatherings in a further easing of the rules.

The Visit Malta website said: “As from Monday, April 11th, incoming tourists travelling to Malta from a country on the red list will be allowed in with a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival, or a recognised Covid recovery certificate which cannot be older than 180 days.

“Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister announced that, as planned, as from April 10th, a vaccine certificate is no longer needed for persons to attend standing outdoor events or seated indoor events.”

Malta’s minister for tourism Clayton Bartolo said in a statement: “The decision to ease further COVID-19 restrictions related to travel continues to be a turning point in the government’s efforts to drive the Maltese Islands back to normality.”

We look forward to publishing our first “Postcard From Malta”.

Worth reading in full.

Novaxx Djokovic: Unjabbed Tennis Champ Threatened With Deportation from Australia

The men’s tennis number one Novak Djokovic has been threatened with deportation back to Serbia after his visa was rejected by Australian officials amid a mix-up with his application. There’s also the small fact that he is unvaccinated and claimed to be exempt from Australia’s rules about unvaccinated visitors, as well as the rule that only vaccinated players can compete in the Australian Open. MailOnline has more.

The No. 1 tennis star, who was left stranded at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport overnight, has been denied entry into Australia after initially being granted a medical exemption for the country’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements so that he could play in the Australian Open.

The 34 year-old was issued a letter by the Australian Government saying his visa had been denied and he would be deported, a source close to the tournament said tonight.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed today that Djokovic’s visa had been cancelled, and Border Force issued a statement to that effect.

“The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements,” a statement read.

“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia. The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone.​”

Djokovic’s lawyers are now gearing up to fight the visa cancellation in court, though it is not clear if the star player will stay in Australia during the case.

Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksanda Vucic said on Instagram that he has spoken to Djokovic and added that Serbian authorities are taking measures “so the harassment of the best tennis player in the world be stopped in the shortest possible time”.

The tennis star will now be moved to a hotel in Melbourne under police guard until a deportation flight back to Serbia can be arranged.

Djokovik, who landed in Melbourne on an Emirates flight from Dubai at around 11.15pm, was initially placed in isolation after officials discovered his team had bungled his visa application to play in the Australian Open without being vaccinated.

It came just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison threatened to send the Serb back “on the next plane home” if he could not provide evidence for his vaccine exemption.

Worth reading in full.

Looks like it’s 30-15 to the Covid hysterics. But Djoko is a fighter so the game isn’t over.

If the Government isn’t Following the Science When it Comes to Vaccinating Children, Who is it Following?

We are publishing a guest post today by Dr. Peter Hayes, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sunderland, pointing out that when it comes to vaccinating healthy 12-15 year-olds the Government can no longer claim to be following the science.

“Follow The Science” has been the defining slogan of Covid policymaking for the past year and a half. However, we may now be at turning point. On September 3rd, that august and scientific body The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised not to start vaccinating otherwise healthy 12-15 year-olds. The Government, however, seems likely to set about vaccinating them anyway.

In his letter to chief medical officers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid says that the JCVI is against vaccination of 12-15 year olds because its margin of benefit against harm is “too small” and tacitly suggests that the officers come up with something to enable him to override this advice. However, Javid’s spin on the committee’s advice is misleading. It is not only the marginal benefits of the vaccine but also the unknown extent of its harms that has led the JCVI to recommend against it.

(1) The JCVI states that in advising whether or not to vaccinate it has focused on “the benefit to children and young people themselves, weighed against any potential harms from vaccination”, and that it has done this to the exclusion of other issues such as cost.

(2) It states that overall “the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms” [emphasis added].

Vaccines Not Protecting Over-60s in Scotland From Being Hospitalised with COVID-19

A reader (an academic economist) has analysed the Scottish Covid data and reached a depressing conclusion: Covid vaccination seems to offer the over-60s little protection from severe illness.

Wasn’t busy today so I decided to collect all the Scottish data and do a bit of mining. Many of the datasets are not properly organised and are downloaded from separate parts of the Government website, so I wondered if they were missing something.

Lo and behold, they were – something big. The reason it was hard to track down was because the government does not publish positive test results by age. This is a problem because testing in Scotland – and across the UK – is far higher this summer than it was last year. Lateral flow tests are everywhere now and people upload their results to the Government app. Only neurotics were doing this last year, but now everyone is doing it.

Okay, so I managed to construct a positive test rate for the over-60s. This can then be compared to hospitalisations. If hospitalisations are low relative to the positive test rate in over-60s then we can have some confidence that the vaccines are protecting this group. This means that even if they seem borderline useless at preventing case growth, they would at least be a prophylactic against severe cases of the virus.

But as you can see from the table above, there is no evidence that hospitalisations are lower for the over-60s that are testing positive and so no evidence that the vaccines protect the over-60s from severe illness.