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Sunday, June 13, 2021

COVID vaccine available in Qatar ‘within weeks’

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The positive news comes on the same day Doha recorded its lowest number of community-spread cases in months.

The long-awaited coronavirus vaccine is set to roll out “within weeks” in Qatar, according to Dr. Soha Al-Bayat, Head of the Vaccination Unit at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).

According to Al Raya newspaper, the health official stated that the country is weeks away from receiving the coronavirus vaccine, adding that the process of rolling it out will continue well into 2021.

Last week the UK government claimed it was going to be the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use, with plans to start offering it within days.

In October, Qatar announced that it had signed an agreement to obtain the same vaccine once it is ready.

“I am delighted to announce that the Ministry of Public Health has already signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to supply Qatar with their BNT162 mRNA-based candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2,” said ​Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.

Read also: UK first to approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Last month, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech announced the-long-awaited coronavirus vaccine was more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.

The manufacturers said that vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo indicated an efficacy rate of 90% and above at seven days after the second dose.

Qatar is also set to receive vaccines from US-based drug manufacturer, Moderna, which says it’s vaccine has a 94.5% effectiveness.

Read also: Qatar in ‘advanced discussions’ to get COVID-19 vaccines, ministry says

As several countries around the world struggle to cope with a second wave of the pandemic, Qatar’s health experts said that there are few chances of the same thing happening here.

On Sunday, Doha reported 125 new cases, with only 93 of those among residents already in the country, the remaining 32 infections came from returning travelers.

More than 1,000,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Qatar since the beginning of the outbreak, which experts say has contributed massively to the country’s success in managing the pandemic.

However, until the vaccine is finally available, health authorities have called on residents to maintain social distancing guidelines and continue to take precautions.

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