By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
The Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Qatar has gone well with no side effects so far on anyone receiving the vaccine, Dr Yousef al-Maslamani, medical director of Hamad General Hospital, told Qatar TV Monday.
Stressing the importance of taking the vaccine, he stated that it has marked the beginning of the end of the pandemic in the country.Last updated: December 28 2020 11:12 PM
"The turnout among the targeted category of people to take the vaccine has increased considerably over the past few days, especially since senior and well-known individuals have already taken the first dose," he pointed out.
While thanking Qatar residents for their patience over the past nine months and abiding by the preventive and precautionary measures against Covid-19, which has considerably contributed in containing the pandemic, he said that he understands the fears and concerns of some people regarding the new vaccine.
"It is normal that people may have doubts regarding any new invention or technology but the Ministry of Public Health depends on the approved scientific researches and studies and makes proper assessment of them accordingly.
"The ministry never takes its information from what is circulating on the social media. Besides, all the available information about the new vaccine affirm that it is safe and highly effective and there is no reason to have fears or worries about it," the official asserted.
Regarding, the new strain of coronavirus that appeared in the UK and spread faster than the previous one, Dr al-Maslamani explained that it is scientifically well-known that viruses go into different stages of mutation, but in this regard the new strain is not deemed more risky or dangerous, and it only spreads quickly.
"According to the company manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine (given in Qatar), it is effective against the new strain of coronavirus as well," he said.
The senior healthcare official urged that people should continue to abide by the preventive and precautionary measures against Covid-19, even those who have taken the first dose of the vaccine, as immunity is built within a week of the second dose, which is administered three weeks after the first.
"Another reason is that we need to vaccinate 70-80% of the total population to maintain effective immunity and avoid any potential spread of infection. Abiding by the preventive and precautionary measures is not a personal choice but a public decision issued by the authorities concerned for the good of all," he said.
More batches of the vaccine will be brought to Qatar and the vaccination campaign will cover more people.
An update to the Ehteraz app, which would show that the user has taken the Covid-19 vaccine, is under planning and development, Dr al-Maslamani added.
Qatar rolled out the vaccination campaign for Covid-19 on December 22 with the vaccine being administered at seven primary health centres.
In the first phase of vaccination lasting until January 31, preference is given to people over 70, adults in chronic care and home care facilities, healthcare personnel most at risk of infection and people over 16 with severe chronic diseases. The Covid-19 vaccine will not be given to children below 16 as clinical trials were not done among this group.