Qatar on Wednesday joined the rank of a handful of countries to roll out the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 by administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at seven primary health centres.
Dr Abdulla al-Kubaisi, a 79-year-old Qatari citizen and a former president of Qatar University, was the first person in the country to receive the vaccine at Al Wajba Health Centre in the morning.
HE the Minister of Public Health, Dr Hanan Mohamad al-Kuwari said, "As directed by His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, we have worked hard, along with our partners across government, since the early stages of vaccine development at the start of the pandemic to ensure Qatar was among the first countries in the world to provide a safe, effective and approved Covid-19 vaccine totally free for its population. The vaccination of Dr Abdulla al-Kubaisi marks the start of what will be the largest national vaccination programme in the history of our country."
Some of the senior officials from the Ministry of Public Health including Dr Abdullatif al-Khal (Hamad Medical Corporation’s deputy chief medical officer and chairman of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee) and Dr Hamad al-Rumaihi (director of communicable disease control at the Public Health Department at MoPH and co-chair of the National Epidemic Preparation Committee) were present at Al Wajaba Health Centre to witness the start of the vaccination campaign.
"I am proud and honoured to be the first person to be vaccinated in Qatar," said, Dr al- Kubaisi, following his vaccination. "This has been a very difficult year for me and my family, living with the constant threat of the virus and fear for my health. I would like to thank the leadership of our country for their actions to confront the Covid-19 pandemic and for their efforts in bringing the vaccine to Qatar so quickly."
Mohamed Frazat, an 88-year-old Syrian resident, was the second person in Qatar to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Several elderly people received the vaccine in the morning across the seven health centres as the first batch of vaccine is given to priority group of people, taking age and chronic diseases into consideration. In the first phase of vaccination lasting until January 31, preference is given to people over 70, adults in chronic care and home care facilities, healthcare personnel most at risk of infection and people over 16 with severe chronic diseases. The Covid-19 vaccine will not be given to children below 16 as clinical trials were not done among this group.
Vaccination is also done at six other health centres at Leabaib, Al Ruwais, Umm Slal, Rawdat Al Khail, Al Thumama, and Muaither.
Primary Health Care Corporation official, Dr Samya al-Abdulla had announced that the priority group people to be vaccinated will be contacted directly and the first dose of vaccination will be followed by a booster dose after three weeks.
Patients who have been selected will be contacted by phone/SMS and invited to attend an appointment at one of the seven designated health centres.
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