The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has announced that it has lowered the age threshold for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 35 years of age.
The change comes as part of the phased roll-out of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program which continues to pick up pace and has now administered more than 1,200,000 vaccines doses to the most at risk members of Qatars population.
"Lowering the eligibility threshold to 35 years of age will enable a wider section of our population to be vaccinated and become protected against COVID-19. Since the start of March, we have almost doubled the number of weekly vaccines administered and in the past seven days alone we have administered over 160,000 doses, across more than 35 vaccination centers," said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.
"One in three adults in Qatar has already received at least one vaccine dose and Qatar ranks ninth in the world for total vaccine doses administered per 100 people, in countries with a population of at least one million. This is a remarkable achievement made possible thanks to the overwhelming response of the public to the vaccination program," he added.
Managing Director of Primary Health Care Corporation Dr. Mariam Abdulmalik explained the lowering of the age threshold has been made possible thanks to the high rate of vaccination within the older, most at risk, age groups. "We know that age is the most significant risk factor in increasing an individuals chances of developing severe complications due to the virus. 82.6 percent of people over 60 years of age and 73 percent of people over 50 years of age have now received at least one vaccine dose, meaning the majority of the most at risk members of our population are now well on the way to becoming protected against the virus," she stated.
Dr. Abdulmalik explained that following the change in age limit, the appointment process for vaccinations remains the same. "PHCC teams will continue to directly contact people who are eligible by SMS or phone call to arrange their appointment. People who meet the new 35 years of age and above eligibility criteria and who have already registered their interest online via the vaccine registration service on the Ministry of Public Health website will be given priority for appointments over the next few weeks."
Dr. Al Khal also explained that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during the Holy Month of Ramadan does not break a persons fast because the vaccine is administered intramuscularly and it is not nutritious. He stressed that people should not delay their vaccination appointments during Ramadan and the operating hours of vaccination centers have been adjusted throughout the Holy Month to enable convenient access.
Cover image credit: Shutterstock
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