Qatar will begin its COVID-19 vaccination campaign from Wednesday 23 December 2020, a senior health official announced today at a press conference.
The COVID-19 vaccines will be available at 7 primary health centres for people who meet the initial priority criteria. Earlier Qatar had announced that the vaccine will be free for all nationals and residents.
Patients who have been selected will be contacted by phone/SMS to advise them of their selection for the vaccine and invited to attend an appointment at one of the 7 designated health centres
Preference for vulnerable groups
In the first phase of vaccination in Qatar, from December 23 to January 31, preference will be given to people over 70 years old, adults in chronic care and home care facilities, healthcare personnel most at risk of infection and people over 16 years of age with severe chronic diseases.
Initially, vaccines will be prioritized for three key population groups: older people, people with certain chronic conditions and key healthcare workers.
Evidence from both here in Qatar and around the world clearly shows that the risk of developing severe complications due to COVID-19 increases with age. People over 65 years of age have a higher risk of severe illness and death.
People with chronic conditions
People with certain long-term chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, asthma, and heart disease, or compromised immune systems, have an increased risk of developing severe complications as a result of COVID-19, regardless of their age.
Healthcare workers, especially doctors, nurses and paramedics working directly with COVID-19 patients, have an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and catching the virus and becoming sick. Additionally, healthcare workers who catch the virus can spread it to their patients, many of whom may be at increased risk of severe complications due to chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
Patients who have been selected will be contacted by phone/SMS to advise them of their selection for the vaccine and invited to attend an appointment at one of the 7 designated health centres, which are:
- Al Wajba Health Centre
- Leabaib Health Center
- Al Ruwais Health Center
- Umm Slal Health Center
- Rawdat Al Khail Health Center
- Al Thumama Health Center
- Muaither Health Center
Vaccines to reach tonight
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 said that the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech will reach Qatar tonight through the Hamad International Airport.
Qatar’s vaccination strategy will enable everyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2021, but for now, with a limited quantity of vaccines we must prioritize people most at risk from severe complications and death from the virus, the officials said.
Launching of COVID-19 Vaccine Microsite
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) today launched a COVID-19 vaccine microsite, following its decision to approve the emergency use authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The new microsite contains all information regarding the vaccine and also explains how vaccines work.
The Ministry of Public Health has signed agreements with Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech to procure their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are approved and released for global use.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is currently not approved for children. MOPH’s Pharmacy and Drug Control Department has approved its use only for people aged 16 years and older.
People with a significant history of allergic reactions will not be given the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. Anyone with an allergy should discuss this with the doctor before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to MoPH website, people who had already recovered from the virus will also need vaccine as COVID-19 is still a relatively new and unknown virus and while research to date indicates that people who have been infected with COVID-19 build up natural immunity it is unclear how long this immunity last for and how effective it is.
The press conference was also attended by Dr. Hamad Eid Al Romaihi, Co-Chair for the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee and Director of Health Protection and Communicable Diseases at MoPH, and Dr. Mariam Abdul Malik, Managing Director of Primary Health Care Corporation.