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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Third Covid-19 booster shots to be rolled out in Qatar

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All high risk individuals who completed their second dose at least eight months ago will need to get their third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is set to begin administering Covid-19 vaccine booster doses for high-risk individuals on Wednesday before rolling out the programme to the rest of the public.

All immunodeficient high-risk individuals who took their second dose of the vaccine over eight months ago will receive the third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines as of Wednesday.

In late August, the MoPH approved the use of a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines for those with immunodeficiency diseases, noting these individuals may not get the level of immunity from a two-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.

The immune response of vulnerable individuals to the initial vaccine shots could have weakened over time, it said.

The first phase of the booster programme will focus on specific groups, including those over 65 years of age and vulnerable people with chronic conditions that increase their risk of a severe Covid-19 infection, as well as frontline healthcare workers and other sectors.

The move comes after recent clinical evidence revealed, for most people, the protective immunity obtained from their primary two vaccine doses gradually starts to decline after an eight month period.

The booster dose will aid individuals by significantly increasing their antibody levels against the virus and providing higher levels of protection against the different variants, including the deadly Delta variant, for many months ahead.

Read also: Vaccinated individuals ’29 times less likely’ to need hospitalisation: health official

The booster doses have also proven to be safe and are not associated with any significant side effects. Qatar’s health ministry said individuals will be given a booster dose using the same vaccine used for their initial two doses. This currently applies to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only.

The booster doses will be available from September 15, eight months after the first high-risk people in Qatar received their second dose.

The approval of the booster doses marks the start of a new phase of Qatar’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Program.

All individuals eligible for the booster dose will be contacted by Primary Health Care Corporation to set an appointment. People who have already surpassed eight months since their second dose and have not been contacted by PHCC can call 4027 7077 to get an appointment.

MoPH urges those who have been contacted to not delay their appointment for their third dose, urging those eligible to ensure they receive their booster vaccine within 12 months of their second dose to be able to maintain their Gold Vaccinated Status on the Ehteraz app.

Up to 78% of Qatar’s total population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, earning the Gulf state the fifth rank for the highest fully vaccinated population among countries with over one million residents in the world.

Qatar has seen a dip in community cases over the past few weeks, recording 604 deaths thus far since the start of the pandemic. According to the latest numbers, there are 1,983 active cases in the Gulf state.


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