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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Eligibility age drops as Qatar receives more Covid-19 vaccines

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The Ministry of Public Health has lowered the age threshold to 50 as the country receives more of the Moderna and Pfzier-BioNTech vaccines.

The age of eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine has been lowered to 50, as the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) equips itself with more vaccines as the inoculation campaign expands.

“We have recently received regular supply of the vaccine, more than before. With the availability of Moderna vaccine along with Pfizer vaccine, we can significantly expand the scale of our vaccination program and open the eligibility criteria to include more people, in line with the MoPH Strategic Vaccination Plan against Covid-19,” said Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal.

This means those who are now eligible for the vaccine are 50 years or older, regardless of their health conditions. People with moderate chronic medical conditions, healthcare professionals and other key workers in different ministries and government institutions, as well as those working in the education sector, can also be vaccinated.

Read also: Just 61% of over 70 year-olds received first Covid-19 vaccine

The drop in the age threshold on Wednesday came as the total number of current active cases surpassed 10,000 for the first time in months.

Throughout February, health authorities reported around 400+ cases daily, raising major concerns over the possibility of a second wave. On Wednesday, 471 new positive infections were reported, bumping the number of current active cases to 10,059.

Last month, the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management imposed new health and safety restrictions earlier to contain the virus after a surge in cases was recorded.

As the inoculation campaign continues, the HMC has taken to social media to answer some common concerns.

Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Center at HMC, Dr. Muna Al Maslamani assured there is no risk in taking the Covid-19 vaccine if you are already infected with the virus.

 

She also added that it is important to still follow precautionary measures even after taking the shot as it will be 50 percent effective after the first dose, and around 95 percent effective two weeks after the second dose.

“You can get infected after taking the vaccination, especially after taking the first dose, because the body develops sufficient level of antibodies only two weeks after the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Al Maslamani.

The vaccines protect against disease and not infection. In the event that a person is infected, symptoms will be mild compared to a person who did not receive the vaccination.

Read also: How will the Covid-19 drive-thru vaccination centre work?

Other concerns and myths have emerged about the vaccine, including side effects and its impact on fertility and DNA.

While the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will most likely have strong side effects, doctors have assured these are typically signs that the vaccine has triggered an immune system response.

As Qatar continues its inoculation program, Al Maslamani has said “do not forget that the effectiveness is not 100% therefore everyone should take the necessary precautions.”


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