Look, Malta’s vaccination program is doing well. Compared with the rest of the EU it is doing very well. So Robert Abela could go on TV and say his government is acquitting itself reasonably well in the national vaccination effort.
Why does he feel the need to lie, exaggerate, and burst his own credibility, such as it is? Because even when the truth is good, for him a lie is better.
Watch this clip from yesterday’s interview with Mark Laurence Zammit on TVM.
‘The vaccination rate in Malta is the best in the world,’ he said. The interviewer is sceptical. He vaguely remembers that Israel was putting on a good show. So Mark Laurence Zammit glibly puts in that ‘Israel has overtaken us.’ This is inaccurate because there hasn’t been a day since vaccinations started in December of last year when Malta’s vaccination rate was higher than Israel’s.
‘No,’ Robert Abela lies. ‘Look at the statistics,’ he challenges pointlessly, given that his interviewer (and his TV audience) do not have the statistics at hand. ‘I looked at the statistics,’ he lies again. ‘And Malta has the highest rate of vaccination in the world.’
Vaccination rates are measured by two indices. There’s the total number of vaccinations per 100 persons in the population (which gives you an idea of how far the vaccination program has reached in giving a second dose).
The following data is for 6 April (or the latest available data before that). Malta is doing well at 49.64. More than Israel? No. Israel is at 117.31. That’s not even the highest in the world. Gibraltar is at 180.78. And Seychelles, the UAE, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Man, the Falkland Islands, Jersey, Bhutan, Chile, the UK, Monaco, Saint Helena, Bahrain and Guernsey all have higher vaccination rates than Malta’s.
Park Israel, the UAE, Chile and the UK for a minute. What is common to all other top-ranking countries is that they are small, most are islands, just like Malta. That’s obviously because it is easier to vaccinate a smaller population that lives in a concentrated area than a larger population spread over unequal landscapes.
Not to diminish anything from the merit of the achievement of Malta’s vaccination program but Robert Abela spraying his shorts at the thought of his own muscles on TV is far from justified. We are not the best in the world and our feat, though something to be pleased about, needs to be put in the context of the exemplary programs in the four much larger countries with numbers greater than ours.
Incidentally, you can also measure the rate of vaccination by counting the share of the population of people who have had at least one dose of a vaccine. Again, this data is from 6 April or the latest available data before that.
Malta is doing well at 36.03%. More than Israel? No. Israel is at 61.03%. Best in the world? Not even Israel is. Again the top-ranked is Gibraltar at 95.85% followed by Seychelles, the Falkland Islands, Israel, Bhutan, Saint Helena, the Isle of Man, the Maldives, the UK, the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Guernsey, Bermuda and Chile.
Then comes Malta, ahead of the other EU member states and doing well. But not the best in the world.
You’d have to ask. Who needs to be disappointed if Malta is not quite the best in the world? Robert Abela is the victim of his own hyperbole turning a potential political credit note into the evidence of yet another lie.
He said yesterday he was looking at the statistics. Typically he didn’t refer to his source. The sources I quote are all official government sources referenced and aggregated by ‘Our World in Data’, a project of the Global Change Data Lab of the Oxford Martin School and the University of Oxford.
Robert Abela’s source, on the other hand, seems to be his own teenage fantasy of himself.