As Qatar kicks off a new immunization drive for children today, the health ministry has released a list of places parents can go to get the shot for free.
The one-month campaign, which runs until Nov. 14, is aimed at kids ages one to 13 years old and comes amid 22 recently reported cases of measles in Qatar.
In addition to administering the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines at school, 20 private clinics will be offering them for free:
— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) October 13, 2016
MMR is also being administered at all primary healthcare centers in the morning and evenings (no appointment necessary), as well as the immunization clinic at Hamad Medical Corp., the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said.
According to Qatar’s vaccination schedules, children should be given two MMR shots: one at 12 months, and the second at 18 months.
For many kids, then, this drive would entail getting a third “booster” shot of the vaccine, an idea that some parents have expressed concerns about.
However, authorities sought to reassure them this week that a booster shot is safe.
Popular locally-based Dr. Renu Arya, formerly at the Al Tadawi Clinic, also weighed in on her website, saying:
“Qatar still has outbreaks of measles unlike some other countries mainly because of its migrant population and of course, some unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children…
If your child had 2 doses of MMR they don’t NEED a 3rd, BUT if they do have a 3rd, or even 4th dose it won’t do any harm . It may actually boost their immunity, particularly if there has been a few years gap since the last one. Side effects should be minimal, if any.”
Anyone with questions or concerns about the vaccination drive can reach the ministry at its hotline numbers: 66740948 for Arabic speakers and 66740951for English ones. Or they can email cdc@MOPH.GOV.QA.