Qatar begins COVID vaccination campaign

First phase of vaccination to prioritise people over 70, healthcare workers and those with chronic conditions.

Qatar has launched a free coronavirus vaccination campaign after the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in the country on Tuesday.

The vaccine will be administered in two doses, three weeks apart at seven primary health centres in the country.

The priority will be given to people who are aged 70 and above, people with multiple chronic conditions and key healthcare staff working in close contact with COVID-19 patients.

The first vaccine was successfully given to 79-year-old Abdullah Al Kubaisi, former Qatar University president, on Wednesday.

The first vaccination phase will run until January 31, 2021 and the government has said it expects to have enough vaccines to cover the country’s entire population in 2021.

It has also signed a deal to acquire the Moderna as well as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Doha, said: “Health officials have assured us they will have enough vaccine to cover the entire Qatar population.”

The shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport on December 21 [Qatar’s Government Communication Office]

Amid the global pandemic, Qatar has been able to restrict its number of cases and deaths by extensive testing.

On Wednesday, the health ministry announced 140 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s total positive cases to date to 142,448 including 243 deaths.

Qatar has tested more than 1.2 million people since the start of the pandemic, almost half of its population.

“They’ve been able to provide healthcare to those in need and they are making sure there is a robust contract tracing system in place, including an app which monitors the movement of people in case they come in contact with anyone who has been infected with the virus,” Bin Javaid added.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies