The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that there is clear medical evidence that protective immunity from COVID-19 infection begins to decline six months after the second dose of an approved vaccine. The State of Qatar, in order to ensure the health and safety of the population, has changed the vaccine validity of COVID-19 immunity from 12 months to 9 months following the second dose.
The change comes into effect on 1 February 2022 and means that individuals whose second COVID-19 vaccine dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca was more than 9 months ago on 1 February 2022 will be considered unvaccinated and will lose their Gold Frame (immunized) status on Ehteraz. Receiving a booster vaccine dose will reinstate their Gold Frame status for a further 9 months. This aligns Qatar with the protective actions being taken by other countries in the region and the world, to address the ongoing pandemic.
The Ehteraz Gold Frame status gives individuals certain privileges under the current Phase Four of the Gradual Lifting of COVID-19 Restrictions and the change to the 9-month validity will also apply to vaccination certificates when used to enter Qatar following travel aboard and for visitors to the country.
Following the detection of the first Omicron cases in Qatar, in addition to the increase in new COVID-19 daily cases over the past two months, the Ministry warned that this is a critical period in the fight against the virus and that it is vitally important that all eligible members of the community get their booster vaccine without delay. The Ministry stated that recent studies show booster doses to be effective at preventing severe infection against the Omicron variant as well as other circulating variants.
Booster doses are being administered to individuals who had their second dose more than six months ago and to date, more than 240,000 booster vaccine doses have safely been administered in Qatar, with no severe side effects reported.
The Ministry of Public Health also announced that it is significantly expanding capacity of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program through the opening of the Qatar Vaccination Center – for Business and Industry Sector in Bu Garn.
The new facility will open on Sunday 9 January 2022 and administer COVID-19 vaccines to key business and industry workers and is the result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, and Primary Health Care Corporation, with support from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and ConocoPhillips-Qatar. The center will provide capacity to administer up to 30,000 vaccine doses per day, with booster doses making up the majority of vaccines administered. First and second doses will also be administered to eligible people.
The Bu Garn vaccination center will operate on an appointment-based system, with no walk-in appointments given. The COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Unit has been set up to support the booking and appointment process at the vaccination center. Businesses are encouraged to contact the Unit and schedule vaccination appointments for their eligible staff by emailing [email protected]
Booster vaccines are also available at all Primary Health Care Corporation health centers and PHCC is directly contacting people who are eligible for the booster vaccine dose to set an appointment. Anyone who is eligible and has not yet been contacted can call the PHCC hotline on 4027 7077 or use the PHCC’s mobile app, Nar’aakom, to schedule an appointment. Prior appointments are needed before visiting a health center and no walk-in appointments will be given.
Source: Ministry of Public Health
Cover image: Shutterstock
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