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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Qatar administers ‘one millionth Covid-19 vaccine dose’


The National Vaccination Campaign continues to expand as an alarming number of positive Covid-19 cases increase across the country.

More than one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have now been administered in Qatar since the vaccination campaign kicked off in December, the Ministry of Public Health announced on Wednesday.

​”Administering the one millionth vaccine dose is a hugely significant milestone and highlights the rapid pace of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program which is now vaccinating more than 170,000 people a week,” the health ministry said.

The latest statistics come as health authorities confirm 27 percent of eligible adults and 77 percent of people over 60 years of age having received at least one vaccine dose.

This ensures a significant proportion of the most at risk members of Qatar’s population are protected against the virus, the ministry added.

In recent weeks, health authorities have expanded and accelerated the national inoculation drive in response to a rising number of positive cases.

In March, the Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal said Qatar aims to vaccinate 90% of the population by the end of the year.

The age threshold for those eligible to receive the vaccine was lowered to 40 last month.

“In this second wave of the virus the healthcare system is now seeing more younger people becoming sick and needing medical care. Lowering the age limit to 40 years will enable this age group to get vaccinated and reduce their risk,” the ministry said in a statement earlier this month.

However, despite the accelerated drive, the number of daily reported cases have seen an alarming rise, pushing the government to impose stricter restrictions that has seen Qatar ease back into lockdown.

On Wednesday, authorities reported 940 new positive cases, bumping the total active cases to 18,401. Eight people died over the past 24 hours – the highest daily death toll since the pandemic erupted.

In December, eight people died from the novel coronavirus. The number decreased to three in January before shooting up to 10 in February, including an 11-year-old child. However, since March, more than 54 people have succumbed to the virus.

News of the one millionth administered dose came during a press conference on Wednesday in which health authorities announced new stricter restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Read also: Qatar ramps up restrictions on country’s deadliest Covid-19 day

Health officials say the newly-found UK strain is the cause for the increasing number of cases and ICU admissions.

When compared to the original virus, the UK variant, a more deadly strain, has 23 mutations and spreads up to 70% more easily, experts say.

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