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Friday, January 28, 2022

Half of Qatar’s adult population now fully vaccinated


Daily reported Covid-19 cases have been drastically decreasing in recent weeks as the country continues to expand its vaccination campaign. 

Over half of the population— aged 16 and above — have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in Qatar, recent statistics from the health ministry confirm.

According to the figures, 50.4% of those 16 and over have received two doses while 67.1% have received one.

The percentage of people over 40 years of age to receive one dose stands at 86.2% with 73.5% completing the course.

Meanwhile, 93.8% of those aged 60 and above received the first dose with 86.6% of this age group now fully vaccinated.

Since the start of the country’s National Vaccination Campaign, over 2,700,942 vaccine doses have been administered.

Qatar has seen a huge dip in Covid-19 numbers since the implementation of new restrictions in late April. In the last few days, the country has been reporting less than 200 daily cases— an 87 percent decrease since the peak of the second wave in April.

The recent drop in numbers can be attributed to the availability of more vaccines as well as the opening of more vaccination centres, which allowed the country to exponentially ramp up its national inoculation campaign.

The implementation of strict restrictions to curb the virus has also played an essential role in flattening the curve, which is expected to further decrease in the upcoming days.

The Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital, Dr. Yousef Al Maslamani said that Covid-19 cases will continue to decrease in Qatar if the community commits to precautionary measures put in place by authorities.

“The cases of infection in Qatar declined due to compliance of people to preventive measures. The cases will further go down if people adhere strictly to the measures and instructions which will help moving to the second phase of gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions smoothly,” Dr. Al Maslamani said on Qatar TV on Monday.

Read also: ‘No compulsion’ in taking Covid-19 vaccine, Qatar health official says

“The government role is to detect the disease, provide treatments as per the cases, like admitting patients to hospitals, ICUs and giving medicines. If they need isolation, they provide that service as well,” said Dr. Al Maslamani.

“People will have to play crucial role in curbing the spread of coronavirus infection. The government can help in making laws related to preventive measures and issue instructions based on scientific information. The community’s role is to follow the measures. If they adhere to the measures the cases of infection will decrease, otherwise it will go up.”

Earlier this month, the ministry of health announced the addition of a set of new features on the Ehteraz phone application following a recent update.

Read also: Phase 1: Qatar outlines details for lifting of restrictions.

The mobile platform now includes full information of the health status of the person in regards to Covid-19 updates, allowing easier access for those who wish to utilise benefits that come with the lifting of restrictions without the need of physical documentation.

Commenting on the update, Al Maslamani said that the new features have been added based on scientific studies proving that recovered individuals have antibodies to protect them from the virus for up to nine months.

“Responding to the international research on the issue, Qatar was able to confirm the information and issued laws which reflects this in the Ehteraz app,” he said, adding that the update is made to show the status of recovered person.

“The move aims to ensure that recovered people can gain access to the facilities where vaccinated people are allowed to go to utilise the privileges granted in the phase one gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.”

Al Maslmani also revealed that GCC health ministers have signed an agreement that would allow Qatari residents and citizens to use Ehteraz app in other GCC countries.

“We started working on the technical aspects of the agreement from the day one regarding Ehteraz app and those related to entry and exit among GCC countries,” said Dr. Al Maslamani. He said that the agreement will be implemented gradually.

Second wave coming to an end

Qatar’s daily reported Covid-19 cases have been drastically decreasing in recent weeks, with health officials assuring that the country is on the verge of ending its second wave.

So far, more than 62% of Qatar’s eligible population have taken at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and over 1 million people in Qatar are now fully vaccinated.

In early May, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MoPH] and Ministry of Commerce & Industry introduced a four-phase plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions following a significant drop in daily Covid-19 infections among the community.

Read also: Phase 1: Qatar outlines details for lifting of restrictions.

The new regulations include allowing five vaccinated individuals to gather indoors, 10 to gather outdoors, and the opening of salons and barbers at a 30% capacity only for vaccinated staff and customers.

Non-vaccinated individuals will be able to enjoy the same privileges as those that have received the full dosage of the injection once the country reaches its target, Head of Vaccination at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Dr. Soha Al Bayat said on Qatar TV.

“We do not force anyone to take Covid-19 vaccine and by the time we reach the targeted percentage of vaccinated people, those who are non-vaccinated will enjoy the same privileges of in the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions,” Al Bayat said.

“Non-vaccinated people will be able to avail the privileges later compared to those who are vaccinated. The number of people who are really exempted from taking Covid-19 vaccine are very small. We encourage the remaining people to take the vaccine to enjoy the privileges available at present.”

Phase two of the lifting of restrictions is expected on June 18.

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