Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) commenced with vaccinating the first group of long-term care patients from Daam Specialised Care Centre as part of the national programme to protect the most vulnerable members of the population.
The Daam Specialised Care Centre, which was officially opened in January 2020 and is managed by Rumailah Hospital, provides continuous care to elderly patients who no longer need to be in hospital but require long-term, inpatient medical care. The families of patients who were deemed by the medical team to be ready for vaccination, were consulted prior to administering the first COVID-19 dose. Other long-term residents in Enaya Specialised Care Facility and the Rumailah Hospital Residential Care Compound are also receiving the vaccine this week.
نزلاء مركز دعم للعناية التخصصية وكبار السن من نزلاء الرعاية المطولة في مؤسسة حمد الطبية ضمن الفئة الأولى المستهدفة باللقاح— مؤسسة حمد الطبية (@HMC_Qatar) December 29, 2020
Daam Specialized Care Center residents were among the first to be assessed and vaccinated, followed by other long-term care residents pic.twitter.com/tvJ7qG6wHm
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Qatar's National Health Strategy 2018-2022 lead for Healthy Ageing and Chairperson of the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care in HMC explained how her team established a rigorous vaccination process that incorporated all the international guidelines.
"Our team of geriatric consultants first assessed each patient to ensure they meet all the criteria for the COVID-19 vaccination. The families and patients were fully informed about the safety aspects of the vaccine and the vaccination process. This is especially important as some of our long-term care residents reply on their children to look out for their best interest," said Dr. Al Hamad.
"Once they were fully briefed, the families were happy to participate in the vaccination as they are looking forward to when their parent is sufficiently protected from the coronavirus. The vaccination will allow them to visit the facility more freely and, where medically possible, to bring their parent home," added Dr. Al Hamad.
"It is truly a momentous achievement by the whole team that we have been able to start vaccinating the most vulnerable members of our population within less than a week of the vaccine arriving in Qatar. The distribution of this important vaccine follows fair and equitable international best practice on prioritizing select members of society who are most at risk. Qatar has once again demonstrated its commitment to providing excellent healthcare for all its population," added Dr Al Hamad.
Dr. Essa Al Sulaiti, Deputy National Lead for Healthy Ageing in Qatar and Medical Director HMC's Homecare Service Department explained the meticulously planned process established for vaccinations of older patients in their care.
"We mapped out strict protocols to ensure every step of the process was monitored by trained staff. Prior to vaccination, each patient underwent a clinical assessment to check their temperature and other vital signs. Once a patient was deemed fit, the vaccination was then administered. The patient's primary carer, usually a son or daughter, was present if they chose to be. After the vaccination, the patient was monitored for approximately 15 minutes to check for any potential side-effects, with all stages being documented. At the end of the process, the patient received their vaccination card, which includes information on when the second dose of vaccine is due, after about 21 days," added Dr. Al Sulaiti.
Mohamed Essa (63) and Salha Zayed (80) were the first two candidates to be vaccinated in the Daam Specialised Care Centre. Both were in good spirits before and after the vaccination, stating that they did not even feel the injection. Salha added that she conducted her own research before agreeing to be vaccinated. She first checked with her trusted healthcare team about the safety and efficiency of the vaccine.
Currently, people over 70 years of age, those with multiple specific chronic conditions, and healthcare staff with regular exposure to COVID-19 are prioritized for vaccination. When more vaccines become available, they will be offered to other population groups.
Cover image credit: HMC
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