A mass vaccination strategy is estimated to be the long-term solution to control COVID-19. Different European countries have committed to vaccination strategies with variable population inoculation rates. We sought to investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 vaccination strategies, inoculation rate, and COVID-19
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A mass vaccination strategy is estimated to be the long-term solution to control COVID-19. Different European countries have committed to vaccination strategies with variable population inoculation rates. We sought to investigate the extent to which the COVID-19 vaccination strategies, inoculation rate, and COVID-19 outcome differ between Cyprus and Malta. Data were obtained from the Ministry of Health websites and COVID-19 dashboards, while vaccination data were obtained from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control until mid-June, 2021. Comparative assessments were performed between the two countries using Microsoft®
Excel for Mac, Version 16.54. Both islands took part in the European Union’s advanced purchase agreement and received their first batch of vaccines on 27 December 2020. The positivity rate and mortality between December and June differs between the two countries (average positivity rate Cyprus 1.34, Malta 3.37 p
≤ 0.01; average mortality Cyprus 7.29, Malta 9.68 p
≤ 0.01). Both the positivity rate and mortality for Cyprus declined due to strict public health measures and vaccination roll-out in early January (positivity rate by 95% and mortality by 58%). In contrast, for Malta, there was a sharp increase (64% p
≤ 0.01) with almost no public health restrictions in place and soaring cases during the Christmas and Carnival period until March, when lockdown measures were re-introduced. A distinctive difference between Cyprus and Malta in positivity rate (14 per 100,000 population; p
≤ 0.01) can also be observed between January and mid-April 2021. However, from April onwards it is evident that the positivity rate and mortality decline (positivity rate Cyprus by 82%, Malta by 95%; mortality Cyprus by 90%, Malta by 95%, p
≤ 0.01, respectively) in both countries as the vaccination roll-outs progressed, covering about 58.93% of the Maltese population, while Cyprus had fully inoculated about 38.03% of its population. The vaccine strategies and vaccination rates were similar for both countries; yet Malta had the fastest vaccine roll-out. Reluctancy to get vaccinated, significant differences in the vaccination appointment scheduling system, and the freedom of vaccination choice for the citizens in Cyprus may have contributed to a delayed vaccination roll-out. These potential contributing factors should be acknowledged and considered for future vaccination programs and potential COVID-19 boosters.