Qatar's proactive approach to secure COVID-19 vaccine proving effective: Dr Al Khal
The health of the population has always been a top priority for Qatar. This has really shone through in the way the country has tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.
From its notable focus on contact tracing and testing to ensuring designated healthcare facilities to manage COVID-19 patients, Qatar has gone above and beyond to deal with the crisis.
The country has been successful in flattening the curve and has maintained one of the lowest mortality rates for COVID-19 in the world.
Amid all these efforts, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has been in negotiations with some of the top international pharmaceutical companies to procure an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ministry had announced that it had already signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech to supply Qatar with their BNT162 mRNA-based candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
Last month, the Ministry had also confirmed that it had signed another agreement with US-based Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotech company.
Earlier this week, a senior MoPH official stated that Qatar expects to receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year.
Now, the Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal has confirmed that the Ministry's efforts to secure the vaccine have been effective.
"The promising results of Moderna's preliminary analysis of its phase 3 clinical trials follow the announcement of similar data from Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this month. Between the two companies, tens of thousands of volunteers are involved in the ongoing clinical trials. The MoPH has been in discussions with multiple international pharmaceutical companies since the early days of the pandemic to ensure Qatar's population has early access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they demonstrate safety and efficacy and are approved for use," the top official highlighted.
Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at HMC confirmed that the proactive approach taken by the Ministry of Public Health to secure the COVID-19 vaccine from various sources has proven effective. #QNA— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) November 18, 2020
He further said that it is "extremely encouraging that the two companies with which we have signed agreements are seeing very high rates of effectiveness in the early results of their clinical trials."
However, he stressed, these "findings are the interim results of the companies' clinical trials and further results of the ongoing clinical trials will be available in due course."
Dr Al Khal also mentioned that there's never been so much effort toward the development of a vaccine.
"This investment is now starting to pay off and we have seen very promising early results from two different vaccines. We eagerly await further results of the trials and regulatory approval of the vaccines and there is good reason to be optimistic that the COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon can enable life to return to normal sooner rather than later," he said.
Whenever the vaccine arrives in Qatar, it will be provided free of charge to Qatar residents, the official had mentioned earlier.
Here's everything you need to know about COVID-19, including ways to protect yourself.
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