Doha signed a deal to secure the vaccines in October last year, which has shown 94.5% effectiveness.
The ministry of health said the Moderna vaccine was approved after Qatar’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Control “carried out an extensive review of the vaccine and assessed the results of clinical studies conducted on tens of thousands of volunteers”.
“The authorisation from MOPH means we can soon begin administering the Moderna vaccine along with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine as we expand our national vaccination program in Qatar,” 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].
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.
“We will soon receive the first delivery of Moderna vaccines and while this will be a limited quantity initially, this is an encouraging development and we can expect regular, larger deliveries of both Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines to arrive in Qatar in the next days and weeks,” said Dr. Aisha Ibrahim Al Ansari, Director of Pharmacy and Drug Control, the Chair of the Vaccine Procurement Taskforce.
The authorisation comes amid a surge of daily coronavirus cases in Qatar that has prompted authorities to begin reimposing restrictions to help stem the spread of the infection.
To date, Qatar has registered 253 deaths from the novel coronavirus. In response to a rising number of daily cases, Qatar implemented a 32-point plan to stem the spread of the infection.
Moderna will be the second vaccine to be administered in Qatar following the arrival of doses from the Pfizer-BioNTech, which marked the beginning of the country’s vaccination campaign.
The US-based drug manufacturer revealed in November that its vaccine showed 94.5% effectiveness. During the trial phase, Moderna tested the vaccine on 30,000 people in the US, half of whom received two doses four weeks apart.