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Friday, April 16, 2021

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

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Senior health officials said more than 60% of 70 year-olds in Qatar have received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

More than 60% of those aged 70 or over received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, Qatar’s ministry of health announced, more than two months into the country’s inoculation drive.

‎“I encourage our elders and all those eligible at this time not to delay starting their ‎vaccination process. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be protected,” said the ‎Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari.

The Covid-19 vaccination drive has been ongoing since December, with the ministry changing the eligibility groups biweekly to ensure inclusivity and safety of the community. 

When it first launched more than two months ago, those over the age of 70, frontline healthcare workers, and patients with chronic illnesses were eligible to receive the first dose.

Later on, the age-limit decreased to 50 years, with teachers, home patients, and their families and drivers eligible for the shot.

“It is incredibly ‎pleasing to know that six out of ten people over 70 years of age have received at least ‎one Covid-19 vaccine dose. Every day, more and more older people in Qatar are ‎receiving their second vaccine dose and building their protection against Covid-19,” said Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, National Health Strategy 2018-2022 Lead for Healthy Ageing.

Read also: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines: Whats the difference?

According to a recent UK study, the first dose of the vaccine is proved to be effective, especially for the elderly. The study said the Pfizer and BioNTech jabs help to protect them from needing hospitalisation and ICU admission.

“People of all ages and health conditions can become infected with Covid-19, but ‎since the start of the pandemic it has been clear that older people are more vulnerable ‎to severe complications from the virus,” the Qatari official added.

“This means that older people are more likely to ‎require hospitalisation, including admission to intensive care units for life-saving ‎treatment, than the younger age groups,” said Dr. Al Hamad. ‎

The Primary Health Care Corporation [PHCC] is continuing to contact the elderly to encourage them to take the vaccination to limit the spread of the virus and ensure their safety, health officials added. 

“In addition to elderly patients being vaccinated at health centres, more than 90 percent ‎of elderly Hamad Medical Corporation inpatients have received their first vaccine dose ‎and every day, our Home HealthCare Service teams are visiting elderly housebound ‎patients in the comfort and safety of their homes to administer vaccines,” Dr. ‎Al Hamad added. 

In an effort to make the vaccine more accessible, a new Covid-19 drive-through vaccination centre opened up in Lusail for patients needing the second dose of the vaccine, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced.

The correct date to receive the second dose is specified on the vaccination card given to patients during the first appointment. 

The centre will be operating daily from 11am till 10pm, though the last entrance to get vaccinated is 9pm.

Those eligible for the second dose must show their QID, health card, vaccination card, green status on Ehteraz and must abide by the mandatory mask rules.

According to the most recent figures from February, more than 100,000 people have been vaccinated in Qatar since the inoculation drive was first launched, though some have complained over the perceived slow-paced administering of vaccines, especially when compared to neighbouring countries.


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