The Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Qatar began at seven designated health centres in the country began yesterday.
The chosen patients, those over 70years of age, those with severe chronic diseases, adults in chronic care and other healthcare personnel were contacted by phone/sms.
The vaccine by BioNTech and Pfizer has received all regulatory approvals and will be given to high-risk categories during the first phase of vaccination, to be held from 23rd December to 31st January.
The vaccinations are to be given at seven primary health centers at:
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
New Covid-19 strain
The Covid-19 vaccine which is being administered in Qatar is good enough to even protect against the new strain of the virus found in several countries, a senior official at the MoPH said.
“The new Covid-19 strain is not different from the original virus, except for the fact that it is more airborne and hence, spreads faster. In all other aspects, the new strain is very much the same as the original Covid-19. Since Pfizer and BioNTech have conducted extensive research and clinical trials, and based on the scientific information, this vaccine is safe and should protect against the new Covid strain,” said Dr. Soha al-Bayat, Head of Vaccination at MoPH.
Interacting with the public in a live question and answer session through MoPH Instagram account, Dr. al-Bayat answered several queries concerning the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, and other aspects of vaccination in Qatar.
Emphasizing on the efficiency of the vaccine, the official said that it is safe and that over a million people have already got vaccination with this without any major side-effects.
“It has been proven to be safe and the side effects are normal, nothing critical or dangerous. Several people in Qatar have taken it on day one and nobody has reported any major issues. It is just like any other vaccine for other diseases and is being extensively given in several countries.” she explained.
She further said that Qatar has signed a vaccine deal only with Pfizer and Moderna, as these are very reliable drug companies, and Qatar has already been procuring other medicines from these firms for a long time.
On completion of phase one, it would be expanded to other sections of the society, and young adults would be covered in phase two or phase three.
Dr. al-Bayat also said that those who have already taken the vaccine also should follow all the Covid-19 protocols issued by MoPH. After 21 days of vaccination, they should get the second dose, and only after that they can be considered fully immune. Once 70 to 75 percent of the population are vaccination, herd immunity can be achieved and people can be completely protected against the disease.
Although it is not mandatory to get vaccinated, the official encouraged one and all to get vaccinated.
“You have to protect yourself to protect your loved ones and others around you. The safety of the population is increased when you get the vaccination and the only way out to go back to the pre-Covid era,” she said.
Dr. al-Bayat also said that all arrangements are done at the seven health centres for providing the vaccination. Once the vaccination is done, people will have to stay back for 20 to 30 minutes at the health centres and they will be monitored for side-effects, if any.