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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine ‘free for all in Qatar’, ministry says


All residents will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free once it is available.

Qatar’s residents will receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free once it is available, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, told Qatar TV on Monday.

“The Ministry will ensure to provide a vaccine of enough quantity. It is not possible to provide for all in the beginning due to high demand from all over the world so the vaccine will be provided within weeks and months,” said Dr. Al Khal on Qatar TV.

Dr. Al Khal said that the vaccine will be provided free of cost due to its urgency and necessity for the health of each individual, community and the general public.

Read also: ‘Coming Home to Qatar’ network mobilises for cross-community support as residents await entry permits

Pfizer, the major pharmaceutical company providing the vaccine, will produce 100 million doses by the end of 2020, the doctor said, all of which will be distributed across the world. Another one billion doses will be available in 2021, he said.

“Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Public Health, will buy COVID-19 vaccines from more than one company to provide the vaccine faster and in the largest possible quantity,” said Dr. Al Khal.

On Sunday, Dr. Al Khal revealed Qatar recently negotiated with key global pharmaceutical companies racing to develop the much-anticipated COVID-19. 

Doha signed an agreement with Pfizer, multinational pharmaceuticals, and BioNTech, a German biotechnology, to provide the country with vaccines once they are available.

“During the past three months, the Ministry communicated with a number of such companies notably those companies whose products, in initial experiments, proved effective and safe in the first and second phase of trials,” he added.

‘Distinct model’

Qatar’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was recently praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), describing it as a “distinct model for global emulation” for its low mortality rate. 

Despite having the world’s highest per-capita coronavirus infections, the tiny Gulf state has successfully managed to control the pandemic.

Following the success of the lockdown in July, Qatar proceeded to gradually ease its restrictions by partially reopening public places while limiting capacities as part of its four-phase plan.

Now, in the fourth phase, the number of daily cases has been fluctuating between below and slightly above 200.

But despite the progress and until the vaccine is finally available, authorities have called on residents to maintain social distancing guidelines.

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