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Friday, December 3, 2021

Moderna vaccine in Qatar: Here’s all you need to know


Almost two weeks ago, Doha authorised the vaccine for emergency use amid a surge in community cases.

Qatar’s Primary Health Care Corporation [PHCC] will begin administering the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on Monday in three different health centres, the local health body announced.

The Moderna vaccine, the second in the country after the joint Pfizer-BioNTech doses, will be available at the Al Wajba, Lebaib, and Thumama health centres.

“It is very encouraging that we can now add the Moderna vaccine to the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in our vaccination program,” said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation [HMC].

The senior health official assured that the Moderna vaccine “is very similar to the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccine and people should not be concerned which vaccine they are given”. 

Read also: How to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Qatar

“As with Pfizer and BioNTech, studies show the Moderna vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infection after two doses and it has been extensively tested and found to be safe for people aged 18 years and over,” said Dr. Al Khal.

In an interview with Doha News on Thursday, Dr. Al Khal revealed that Qatar has already received a small quantity of the Moderna vaccine for testing last week.

“The Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine are more or less the same in terms of efficacy and safety and people given any of those vaccines should take them and they should not try to take one over the other,” he said.

Qatar’s authorisation comes following similar approvals by the United States, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

In October, the country signed an agreement to secure the vaccine with Moderna – which said it aims to prepare 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021.

Strategic plan

Supported by the Ministry of Public Health [MoPH], the national strategic vaccination plan plan was launched on December 23rd when the first batch of Pfizer vaccines landed in Qatar. The inoculation drive seeks to vaccinate residents and citizens in four phases by the end of this year.

Read also: DN Special: Dr. Al Khal reveals details of teachers’ vaccination drive

Last week, health authorities expanded the vaccine campaign with the opening of a new vaccination centre at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) dedicated for teaching and administrative staff, all of whom are considered essential workers.

According to Dr. Al Khal, “most or all teachers” will be vaccinated in the next four weeks, with 8,000 shots expected to be given out per day when the centre is fully operational by the middle of this week.

Latest figures show more than 100,000 shots have been given since the start of the inoculation programme.

On Sunday, health authorities reported 459 Covid-19 positive cases, bumping the total number of current active cases to 9,950.

In response to a rising number of daily cases since the start of the year, Qatar implemented a 32-point plan earlier this month to stem the spread of the virus.

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