August 25, 2021

Qatar Vaccinates 2 Million With Third COVID Shot Due Soon

Qatar reached an enviable milestone on August 24th - two million of the country’s almost three million residents are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus. With many more residents having had at least one dose of the vaccine, the number of fully vaccinated is set to rise significantly in the coming months.

Vaccination Success

Qatar is currently administering the coronavirus vaccine at a rate of 151 doses per 100 people and has given a total of over 4 million doses to date. The current number of people eligible for the vaccination fully immunised against the virus stands at around 80%. The percentage of the country's total population vaccinated stands at just over 70%. Qatar's current level of fully vaccinated people puts the tiny nation sixth in the world in terms of most population protected - only Malta, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Iceland have higher vaccination levels.

In Other News

In other covid-related news, Qatar's Ministry of Public Health also approved using a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna. Third doses will be specifically for individuals with severe immunodeficiency illnesses and those particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus infection. An additional vaccine shot would ensure that those individuals at greatest risk of complications associated with COVID-19 are adequately protected. In terms of booster jabs for the general population, the Ministry has not ruled out the possibility of administering additional doses as more concrete evidence of the benefits become available.

In a statement from the Ministry, those individuals eligible to receive the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine include the following:

  • Individuals who are currently receiving treatments for tumours or leukaemia;
  • Individuals who have had an organ transplant and are using drugs that suppress the immune system;
  • Individuals who have had a stem cell transplant within the past two years or are using immunosuppressive drugs;
  • Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g. DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Individuals with advanced or untreated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
  • Individuals currently receiving treatment with high doses of corticosteroids or other medications that may suppress the immune response, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers and other immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory biological agents;
  • Individuals with chronic conditions, such as asplenia and chronic kidney disease.

The statement from the Ministry also indicated that those eligible to receive the third dose of vaccination would be contacted directly via the Primary Health Care Corporation or a specialized care team member overseeing their treatment at Hamad Medical Corporation.

Looking to the Future

Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the population in Qatar is of paramount importance to the country's governing bodies, as too is safeguarding the nation's economy. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Qatar has been working hard to contain and disrupt the virus to protect its people and secure a stable economic recovery. Strict lockdowns have been implemented, rigorous health and safety measures have been employed, and ample testing centres and covid-related medical facilities established. To keep the economy thriving, businesses have been quick to adapt and, supported by governing bodies, have implemented remote working procedures, thorough cleaning and sanitising practices, and meticulous safety and testing protocols. 

One of Qatar's burgeoning industries, tourism, has been going the extra mile to revive its businesses following the global lockdown. Encouraged by the Qatar National Tourism Council, hotels and leisure facilities have been following a new certification programme, 'Clean Qatar', to ensure their amenities are cleaned and sanitised to set certifiable standards and follow strict safety guidelines. The measures are designed primarily to protect their staff and customers but are also helping to encourage people back in.  

Qatar's international airport, Hamad International Airport, and its primary carrier, Qatar Airways, have likewise been pulling out all the stops to safeguard their staff, crew and passengers. Both businesses immediately implemented best-practice safety and hygiene measures and invested in state-of-the-art technology to reduce potential contamination both on the ground and in the air. In fact, even during the height of the virus crisis, both managed to continue operating consistently and, as a consequence of their diligence, were each awarded a 5-Star COVID Airline Safety Rating in 2020.

Qatar, as hosts of the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup, has also assiduously laboured to continue its preparations for the tournament. They completed several World Cup stadiums and associated venues during the pandemic crisis. And they ensured that over 90% of all construction works were concluded over a year before the 2022 event.

Getting sports back on track was another major task for the Qataris, especially in the World Cup lead-up. Ensuring that the country had abundant logistical and operational experience hosting large sporting events before the 2022 tournament was paramount in the host's World Cup preparation plans. COVID-19 could have derailed the country's goals. However, the Qataris rose to the challenge. They hosted not only their planned events (the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup, the 2020 Diamond Cup and the 2021 Arab Cup qualifiers) but also a myriad of other tournaments. Indeed, Qatar accepted calls for help from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on numerous occasions during the pandemic. By employing stringent health and safety measures at all associated venues and facilities, strict bio-secure bubbles for all involved, and extensive COVID-19 testing, Qatar managed to host the AFC Asian Cup - West tournament, the AFC Asian Cup - East tournament, the Asian Cup Final, and the Asian 2022 World Cup qualifiers event for their group.

Looking to the future, a soon-to-be fully vaccinated country can only help Qatar achieve their post-pandemic goals for their people, economy and hosting the largest sporting event in the world.

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Published: August 25, 2021
Last updated: August 25, 2021
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