The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) will begin, as of Wednesday, 15 September, to administer Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for all high-risk individuals who had their second dose of the vaccine more than eight months ago. 

The ministry began giving a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines on 24 August to certain immunocompromised individuals, because they may not get the level of immunity from a two-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.

The first few months of the booster phase programme will focus on individuals most at risk of severe infection which includes people over 65 years old and those with chronic conditions which increases their risk for severe COVID-19, as well as frontline healthcare workers and other sectors.

The ministry’s decision is in line with the recent clinical evidence supporting the additional protective effect of a booster dose. The latest clinical evidence shows that, for most people, the protective immunity obtained from their primary vaccine series gradually starts to decline after a period of eight months. This is particularly true for mild to moderate infections.

The booster dose will benefit these individuals by significantly increasing their antibody levels against the virus and raising their levels of protection against the different variants, including the Delta variant, for many months ahead. Booster doses have also proven to be safe and are not associated with any significant side effects.

The ministry explained that individuals would be given a booster dose using the same vaccine used for their initial two doses. This applies to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only at this time.

The booster doses will be available from Wednesday, 15 September, eight months after the first high-risk people in Qatar received their second dose. The ministry explained that the approval of booster doses marks the start of a new phase of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program. To date, 78% of Qatar’s total population has been fully vaccinated; one of the highest rates in the world. The ministry stated that measuring full vaccination among the total population is the most important measure of the levels of protection against the virus among the community.

All eligible individuals for the booster dose will be contacted by the Primary Health Care Corporation to set an appointment and are encouraged to get the booster vaccine as soon as they are contacted, without delay, especially individuals at highest risk of severe COVID-19 infection, including frontline workers.

The ministry urges people to ensure they receive their booster vaccine within 12 months of their second dose to ensure they maintain their Gold Vaccinated Status on Ehteraz.

Qualified individuals who have had their second dose of mRNA vaccine at least eight months ago and have not been contacted by PHCC can call 4027 7077 to get an appointment. 

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