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Updated 4 February 2021
Qatar, the quaint Middle Eastern country known for its cosmopolitan sophistication and rich cultural tapestry, has been incredibly weighed down by the ongoing pandemic. Impressively, Qatar has been able to restrict its number of cases and deaths by extensive testing.
With the advent of the vaccination program, the country hopes to back to normal post-COVID life soon enough. Find out more about the Pfizer shots in Qatar.
How does the Pfizer vaccine work?
Among the available COVID-19 vaccines, there are four distinct types:
- Whole virus (this can again be a weakened form or inactivated coronavirus).
- Protein subunit.
- Nucleic acid (RNA or DNA).
- Viral vector.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 is a messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccine. The vaccine carries genetic instructions that help the recipient’s cells to produce protein pieces that trigger immune system response. The response is in the form of the reproduction of millions of copies of spike protein, which stimulates the making of antibodies.
This is the same spike protein available in the coronavirus and used to enter the cells in the human body. If a sufficient number of antibodies are produced in the human body with the mRNA vaccine, they will prevent the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from proliferating, thus protecting the recipient from COVID-19.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine works best with two doses, where the second one is registered 21 days after the first one. On administration of the first dose, the immune system is alerted, and post the second one, it gets a boost, thus providing the immunity to fight off the virus. Efficacy is 52% after the first dose and raises to 95% after the second jab. It takes around four weeks to build immunity after the first dose (could happen earlier).
It is, however, not particularly known how long the vaccine immunity will last. Insights regarding the Pfizer COVID vaccine’s long term effects are clouded as trials weren’t set up to answer the same. CEO of BioNTech Sahin expects it to be months or possibly even years before the vaccine recipient becomes vulnerable to COVID-19 infection again.
Are there any reported side effects?
As far as safety is concerned, the Pfizer vaccine has an overall excellent safety profile, with its benefits outweigh the potential risks. Based on safety data collected from 37,586 participants enrolled in an ongoing phase 3 clinical trial, the most commonly reported side effect involves volunteers experiencing an injection site reaction (seen in almost 84% of those who received the vaccine).
So, if you are taking the vaccine, know that the injection site on your arm might hurt a little, show some redness, and get swollen a bit. You might also experience difficulties in moving your arm freely. Other known side effects of the Pfizer vaccine includes:
- Joint pains
Severe reactions were rare, with four cases of Bell’s palsy being reported during the trial. However, there is no clear evidence that the cause of this temporary paralysis was the vaccine. Adverse allergic reactions are also possible. Hence, those who experienced any major allergic reaction during the first dose of the vaccine are advised not to take the second one.
Pfizer vaccination in Qatar
The first vaccination phase began on 23 December 2020, shortly after Pfizer vaccine was approved for emergency use the country’s public health ministry.
Who’ll get the Pfizer vaccine in Qatar?
The vaccination drive in Qatar is planned to be executed in 4 phases:
In the first stage, the vaccine will be administered to those who are more susceptible to the coronavirus and at higher risk:
- frontline workers, including doctors and nurses working in close contact with COVID-19 patients
- the elderly above the age of 65
- and those who suffer from multiple chronic conditions
- All health care personnel not included in the first stage
- Workers in the food, housekeeping, transportation, taxi drivers, hairdressers, salons sectors, teachers, and school staff
- People aged 40 and above who are not included in the first phase
- Youth and children (when the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be safe for children)
- Workers in industries essential to the functioning of society, who were not included in the first two phases
- All the residents of the State of Qatar who did not receive the vaccination in the previous stages
Until the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in the case of the following groups are confirmed, vaccination will be deferred for the following:
- Pregnant women
- Those with compromised immunity
- Children under 16 years old
When and where to get the Pfizer shots in Kuwait?
The vaccine will be administered in two doses three weeks apart. Top officials of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) have announced that the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination will be announced in a few weeks. The second phase will have more categories added so that more people will be eligible for vaccination.
So far, seven designated centers have been identified across the country to administer the jab. 4 major designated health centres are listed below:
Al Wajba Health Centre
Umm Al Dome St, Ar-Rayyan, Qatar
Rawdat Al Khail Health Centre
B Ring Rd, Doha, Qatar
Umm Salal Health Centre
Al Shamal Rd, Umm Salal Muhammed, Qatar
Leabaib Health Center
Othman Bin Sanad St، Alnuaimi Area, Qatar
Registering for the vaccination
Those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine will be contacted by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) for an appointment. PHCC has activated a dedicated hotline number to enable those 65 years and over to book, cancel or schedule pre-booked vaccination appointments. The dedicated line 402 7707 is currently available from 7 am to 11 pm.
If you are over 65 years of age but haven’t been contacted by the PHCC, you can register for the vaccine at the website https://app-covid19.moph.gov.qa/en/instructions.html.
To use this online service, you will need to log in using your National Authentication System (NAS) TAWTHEEQ username and password. If you don’t have a NAS Account, you can create one on the following link: https://www.nas.gov.qa/self-service/register/select-user-type?lang=en.
Even if you do not belong to the listed priority groups and still register yourself for the vaccine, your interest in taking the vaccine will be recorded and saved. You will be contacted when you are eligible.
How much will the Pfizer vaccine cost?
Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, has announced that the Ministry of Public Health has decided to make COVID-19 vaccine available for all residents of the State of Qatar free of cost.