Qatar Minister of Public Health, HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, met with Dr Abdulla Al Kubaisi and Dr Mohammed Frazat, the first two people in Qatar to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Qatar was among the first countries in the world to provide a safe, effective and approved COVID-19 vaccine for its population. The vaccinations of Dr Al Kubaisi and Dr Frazat signalled the launch of Qatar’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign where thousands of the most at-risk members of the community and healthcare workers receive the vaccine in the first week and a half.

HE Dr Al Kuwari said she was delighted to meet Dr Al Kubaisi and Dr Frazat and hear from them how receiving the first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine has given them cause for optimism and how they are now advocating the vaccine to other at-risk members of the community.

I would like to thank everyone who has received the vaccine for taking action to protect themselves and for playing their part in ending this pandemic. Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine becomes fully effective only after one week of receiving the second dose and people who have had the first dose are still at risk of catching the virus and should continue to apply the preventive measures.

During the first phase of the campaign, vaccines are being prioritised for those most at risk of severe complications from the virus: people 65 years of age and older, those with multiple chronic conditions and healthcare workers with repeated exposure to COVID-19.

Dr Al Kubaisi, a 79-year-old Qatari citizen and former president of Qatar University, said it was an honour for him to be the first person in Qatar to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that the vaccination process was straightforward and painless.

I have had no side effects since receiving the vaccine. I am happy to see many other people in the community receiving their first dose and I encourage anyone who is eligible to have the vaccine as soon as possible.

Eighty-eight-year-old Syrian resident and former Qatar University professor Dr Frazat explained how it has been a difficult year for him and his family, living under the threat of COVID-19.

Knowing that older people are more at risk from severe symptoms of COVID-19 has meant I have been living under the threat of this virus for most of the year.

He said he is thankful to the leadership of Qatar and to the health authorities for ensuring that the most vulnerable members of Qatar’s population can access the vaccine so quickly. Dr Frazat added he have had no side effects following his first vaccine dose and that he looks forward to receiving his second dose soon.

According to Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, the response to the launch of the vaccination campaign has been very encouraging.

He said that every day, more and more people in the most high-risk priority groups are being vaccinated against the virus. As greater numbers of eligible people receive their vaccinations – including many prominent members of society and senior health officials who meet the eligibility criteria – and this is helping build trust among the population in the safety of the vaccine.

People who got both doses of the vaccine are advised to continue to apply the preventive measures for extra protection.

For updates and more information about the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, visit moph.gov.qa and hamad.qa

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