Senior health officials urge eligible people to get COVID-19 booster shot without delay

Senior health officials urge eligible people to get COVID-19 booster shot without delay

By QLNews

Senior public health officials in Qatar have urged eligible citizens and residents to get the COVID-19 booster shot at the earliest possible.

This comes as Qatar recently shortened the duration between the second COVID-19 shot and the booster dose from eight months to six months, based on clinical evidence that protective immunity for most people starts to decline six months after receiving the first two doses.

The health officials have reminded eligible people about the importance of receiving the booster dose to avert the risk of the virus.

Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at HMC, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal said, “The high rate of vaccination within our population has been one of the most important factors in Qatar's successful COVID-19 strategy in controlling the spread of the virus and has meant that the number of new daily COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths has remained very low recently.

"However, we have seen a slight increase in new daily cases in the past two weeks among people who were previously vaccinated, and this is a reminder that the fight against COVID-19 is not yet over."

He encouraged anyone who had their second vaccine dose more than six months ago to get their COVID-19 booster vaccine without delay, to ensure they continue to be protected and enjoy near-normal everyday life activities.

Co-chairperson of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee and Director of Health Protection and Communicable Diseases at MoPH, Dr Hamad Eid Al Romaihi said, “The latest clinical evidence is clear that for most people the protective immunity obtained from the first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine gradually declines six months after the second dose.

"With the virus continuing to circulate in Qatar and around the world it is important that all eligible individuals receive their booster vaccine promptly to ensure they have high levels of immunity against the virus."

He acknowledged the community for playing their part and coming forward for their COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Qatar has managed to suppress the spread of the virus. However, COVID-19 remains a threat to our health and we must not become complacent," he cautioned.

Managing Director of PHCC, Dr Mariam Abdulmalik, reminded that all PHCC health centers are administering COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

“Our dedicated teams at PHCC are currently administering Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccinations to people who had their second vaccine dose more than six months ago.

“All individuals who meet this criteria are encouraged to get their booster vaccine promptly to ensure they continue to have high levels of protection against COVID-19.”

Booster vaccines are available at all Primary Health Care Corporation health centers and PHCC is directly contacting people who are eligible to set an appointment, she said.

“Anyone who is eligible and has not yet been contacted can call the PHCC hotline on 4027 7077 to schedule an appointment. COVID-19 vaccination appointments can also be made via PHCC's mobile app, Nar'aakom,” Dr Abdulmalik added.

Medical Director, Communicable Disease Center, Dr Muna Al Maslamani, stressed the importance of eligible people getting their COVID-19 booster vaccine promptly.

“The roll-out of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program has been a great success and resulted in Qatar having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. However, COVID-19 is still a threat to the health of Qatar's population and as the immunity from the primary vaccine series starts to decline six months after the second dose, it is vitally important that eligible people receive their COVID-19 booster vaccine promptly," she said.

"The booster vaccine will enhance immunity against the virus and provide longer-term protection. If you are eligible for the booster vaccine, don't delay; please act now to protect yourself, your family and the community," she emphasized.

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