Free COVID-19 vaccine for Qatar Residents: Top Official

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar Official
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Dr. Abdullatif al-Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar has updated about the Ministry of Public Public Health (MoPH)’s decision to vaccinate all residents with a COVID-19 vaccine as and when one is available for general administration. 

While speaking to the national television channel, Dr al-Khal revealed that the Ministry has secured the supply of COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by US-based Pfizer and German pharma firm BioNTech.

The official remarked that as per the details provided on the Pfizer website, its BNT162 mRNA-based candidate vaccine for coronavirus could likely gather necessary approvals by the end of this month or early November post successful clinical trials. Dr. al-Khal was upbeat about the initial amounts of vaccine supplies being available to Qatar as early as December 2020-January 2021 if all goes as planned.

“The first quantities of the vaccine could be limited in quantity, so priority would be given to the most vulnerable categories of people such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases,” Dr. al-Khal asserted.

“Over time, more and more quantities of the vaccine would be available to provide for all as Qatar is set to buy it from different entities to be able to make available locally sufficient quantities as soon as possible. If things go well by the end of 2020 around 100 million portions of the vaccine would be produced globally to be increased to more than 1 billion in 2021,” Dr. added.

Dr. al-Khal urged even COVID-19 survives to take part in the vaccination drive as it was still unclear on how long the acquired immunity through infection or vaccine would last.

He further added that the Ministry is reviewing the latest authenticated international scientific journals and periodicals on the experiments conducted by organizations across the globe individually and collectively to combat the pandemic.

Dr. al-Khal stated that even though there has been an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for the COVID-19 vaccine, the country will continue to pursue discussions with other manufactures as well to ensure sufficient quantities of the vaccine when available.