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Posted On: 28 January 2021 09:45 pm
Updated On: 29 January 2021 10:15 am

Doubling of daily infections may be sign of a second wave in Qatar

Vrinda Abilash
Vrinda Abilash
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Today, a press conference was held by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to announce the latest developments related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19), the vaccination campaign with the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine against the virus, and also the number of infections recorded in the recent period.

The doubling of the number of daily infections is a matter of concern as it may be signs of a second wave in Qatar.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation said, “Most countries of the world are witnessing a significant increase in the number of infections.“

“In Qatar, until recently, we were able to significantly reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, but in the past few weeks, began to witness a remarkable increase in the number of daily infections due to the not wearing of masks at public gatherings and weddings.“

He also added, “The doubling of the number of daily infections is a matter of concern as it may be signs of a second wave in Qatar. If the positive cases and hospital admissions continue to increase over the coming week or two, additional restrictions may need to be implemented across the country and we will return to some of the early restriction phases.“

We are not in the second wave of the pandemic yet.

Dr. Hamad Eid Al Rumaihi, Director, Department of Health Protection and Prevention of Transitional Diseases said: “According to health indicators in Qatar, we have not yet entered into a second wave of the pandemic, but there are signs of it. Our vaccination campaign is the biggest ever to be delivered in Qatar. Since the early days of COVID-19 pandemic, the MoPH and key government partners have closely been working with several pharmaceutical companies around the world. This proactive approach to securing a COVID-19 vaccine proved very effective and two agreements were signed - with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first of these to be given FDA approval and on 21 December 2020, Qatar received its first shipment. As with all countries across the world, we are currently faced with limited supplies of vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech. We have now received several shipments of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and are due to receive weekly deliveries throughout February. In the next 10 days, we expect to receive the first delivery of Moderna vaccine. While this will be a very limited quantity, this is a very encouraging development and we can expect regular larger deliveries of both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to arrive from early March.“

50,000 people have received COVID-19 vaccinations in Qatar

With respect to the COVID-19 vaccine in Qatar, he said: “The Ministry of Public Health is committed to providing the vaccine for all residents in Qatar before the end of 2021, according to the approved priority plan. Even after vaccination, you need to keep following the safety measures. People who have been vaccinated receive a certificate with details of the vaccine and the date of the two doses. Today we achieved a significant milestone in administering 50,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Qatar. Most of our vulnerable members are now becoming protected against COVID-19.“

Dr. Maryam Abdul Malik, Managing Director of PHCC said: "In the first few weeks of the campaign our medical teams have carefully monitored all patients following their vaccinations as this is essential to check for possible side effects. As with any vaccination we have seen a small number of minor side effects, mainly soreness at the site of the injection. However, we have not seen any serious side effects directly related to the vaccine among patients. From 13 January, many thousands of people began receiving their second dose of vaccine and with operations running smoothly we expanded the vaccination campaign across 27 health centres. This has boosted our capacity to administer vaccines and as more vaccines become available to us in Qatar, we will continue to increase output. As we progress through the phases of the campaign, we will continue to increase the number of vaccines we administer every week. Patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1 are being contacted directly by phone or SMS to advise of them of their selection and invited them to attend an appointment at one of the health centres. A recent advance is the launch of the new MoPH online system for people to register their interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. People registering their desire to get the vaccine online and who meet the criteria for the first priority group will be given earlier appointments. People who register via the online page but are not in one of the priority groups will have their interest recorded by MoPH and will be contacted when they become eligible. More than 90,000 people have registered their interest so far. As more vaccines become available to us in Qatar, this registration form will provide a valuable resource for us to contact people who wish to receive the vaccine as early as possible."

If you have not registered to receive COVID-19 vaccine yet, read more here: How to register online for COVID-19 vaccine in Qatar

The 4-stage of COVID-19 vaccination plan in 2021, as per MoPH:

Stage 1:

  • Health care personnel most at risk of exposure to the virus and workers in COVID-19 facilities.
  • The main employees of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, the Oil and Gas sector, the Aviation Authority and Qatar Airways.
  • Those who are 70 years and over.
  • All people between the ages of 50 and 69.
  • 50% of the teachers.

Stage 2:

  • All health care cadres not included in the first stage.
  • Basic workers in Ministries and Industries.
  • The rest of the teachers, and school employees
  • People of 40 years and more.
  • People with illnesses that increase their risk of disease.
  • People in detention facilities and prisons.

Stage 3:

  • Youth and children, when they are authorized to take the vaccine.
  • Workers in the necessary industries.

Stage 4:

  • All residents of the State of Qatar who did not receive vaccinations in the previous stages.

Source: Press Conference by MoPH