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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Second dose of COVID-19 vaccine rolls out amid Qatar inoculation programme

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The vaccination campaign has been described as successful so far, with a huge turn out from those eligible, officials said.

Recipients of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Qatar have started receiving the second dose of the shot, Qatar’s ministry of health said.

Dr. Abdullah Al Kubaisi, the former president of Qatar University, who was also the first citizen to receive the first dose in December, has received his second shot.

Mohammed Frazat, 88, who was the second person in the country and first expatriate to receive the vaccine, was also given his second dose earlier this week. 

“Today, the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine was given to people who already received the first dose on 23 of December. The first two people who received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Qatar, Dr. Abdullah Al Kubaisi and Dr. Mohammad Harb Frazat were given the second dose at Al Wajba health centre,”  the minsitry said in a tweet.

“We urge all people who have taken the first dose of the vaccine to comply to take the second dose in the specified date, while continue to adhere to the precautionary measures,” it added. 

Authorities said registration for the second dose is now open, urging patients to contact the ministry if they have not yet received a call-back.

Following the first vaccination, recipients will receive a second dose 21 days later, which is said to bolster the immunisation process and the effectiveness of the vaccine. 

Clinical trials showed 95% of those tested developed antibodies after receiving two doses of the vaccine.

Currently, those aged 65+, adults with chronic illness and frontline workers, can register to get their first dose in any designated health care centre. 

Meanwhile, the second shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine – which will be the first Moderna batch to land in Qatar – is also expected to arrive soon to expand vaccination efforts in the country. 

Earlier this month, the ministry called in citizens to keep an eye on bi-weekly updates of the eligibility criteria for obtaining the Covid-19 vaccine.

As a result of recent medical developments concerning the virus, Doha said it will be expanding the criteria for the next phases to include more people, as part of the ongoing vaccination programme.

“Soon in the coming phases of the campaign we will expand. Every two weeks or so you will see change in the age group, health situation and people entitled for the vaccine accordingly,” said Al Bayat.

Read also: Eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccine to be updated every two weeks: ministry

So far, the ministry has updated the list of chronic diseases that are eligible for the vaccination, which includes patients who are at high risk of developing complications if they contract COVID-19.

The first batch of the coronavirus vaccine by German firm BioNTech and American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, arrived in Qatar on December 21, making it one of the first Arab countries to receive the vaccine. 

Phase one of the campaign kicked off just two days after the vaccine arrived and is set to run until January 31. Previously, priority was being given to seniors above 70 years old, people with chronic illnesses who are 16 years or above, and frontline workers in the health sector. 


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