The first in line to receive the vaccine will be the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
The first batch of the coronavirus vaccine will reach Qatar on Monday, Prime Minister Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani announced on Twitter.
“Under the directives of His Highness the Emir, the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive the day after tomorrow. I have directed the health sector to provide it to everyone, in accordance with our health standards,” he wrote in a tweet.
بتوجيهات من سمو الأمير المفدى تصل بعد غد أول شحنة من لقاح كوفيد19، وقد وجهت القطاع الصحي بتوفيره للجميع وفق معاييرنا الصحية. هذه خطوة مهمة على طريق احتواء الوباء وعودة الحياة لطبيعتها تدريجيا، وإذ نعبر عن فخرنا بنجاح خطتنا لمواجهة المرض نجدد شكرنا لفرقنا الطبية وكل المشاركين فيها
— خالد بن خليفة آل ثاني (@KBKAlThani) December 19, 2020
The vaccine is an important step to containing the pandemic and gradually returning to normal life, the official said.
In October, Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation said the vaccine will be free of charge for all citizens and residents of the country.
“Over time, more and more quantities of the vaccine would be available to provide for all as Qatar is set to buy it from different entities to be able to make available locally sufficient quantities as soon as possible,” he noted.
It remains unclear when the vaccination campaign will be rolled out, however, Advisor Consultant to the Minister of Public Health Abdul Wahab al-Musleh last week said the elderly and those with chronic illnesses will be the first recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech 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.
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 Saturday, Doha reported 142 new COVID-19 cases, with the total number of Covid infections reaching 141,858 since the start of the pandemic.
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.