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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Qatar vaccination drive expands with new centre for essential workers

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The new centre is the ministry’s latest effort to ensure the safety and well-being of teachers and staff with blended learning in place. 

A new COVID-19 vaccination centre has been opened by Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

The centre, based at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), will focus on vaccinating teachers and school administrative staff during its initial stages, in a new move to limit the spread of infection at schools across the country. 

The centre was opened in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Hamad Medical Corporation and prioritises educators at both private and government institutions, given their essential work during the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking to Doha News Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation [HMC] said at least 8,000 Pfizer vaccines are expected to be administered per day at the new centre.

Previously, seven centres were dedicated to provide vaccination services to the public he added, noting the latest expansion came after authorities secured enough shots for the population.

“Teachers from both public and private schools will be treated equally and will be contacted via text message,” Dr. Al Khal told Doha News.

The centre will open its doors to other essential workers once all educators have been vaccinated, he said.

The latest measure comes as authorities crackdown on institutes that violate precautionary measures and protocols. In recent weeks, several schools have been temporarily shut down after positive cases of COVID-19 were detected among students and teachers, the ministry of education announced.

Read also: Education official says school infection rate ‘low’ despite parents’ concerns

However, despite concerns by parents, a senior education official this week said the rate coronavirus infection in schools is less than one percent, ruling out plans to switch to online-only mode. 

Mohamad Al Bashri, an adviser to the minister of education and higher education, said schools should only be closed when the infection rate reaches five percent to ensure the safety of the community.

“A few COVID-19 cases were detected in schools because of negligence in following preventive and precautionary measures implemented by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health,” said Al Bashri during a Qatar TV programme.

With the vaccination campaign expanding and the government prioritising educational staff, the new vaccination centre is set to ensure the safety of students to guarantee the continuation of quality education across all schools.

On Thursday, Doha reported 462 COVID-19 cases, bumping the total number of current active cases to 9,766. In response to a rising number of daily cases, Qatar implemented a 32-point plan earlier this month to stem the spread of the infection.

Last week, health authorities also officially authorised Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, which Dr Al Khal confirmed to Doha News had already arrived in Qatar. 


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