Updated 12 January 2022
Booster doses of COVI-19 vaccines have been rolled out in most nations due to concerns over diminishing immunity because of the global spread of the new variant – Omicron. The variant appears to be highly transmissible with an evident ability to reduce vaccine effectiveness.
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has started deploying Covid booster shots to residents in an attempt to safeguard them against the more transmissible variant and keep immunity levels high.
Booster shot programme in Qatar
MOPH approved providing the third dose (booster doses) to residents of Qatar in August 2021. The booster shots were provided only for those with immunodeficiency diseases, noting these individuals may not get the level of immunity against the virus from a two-dose vaccine series. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine booster shots were being administered to the high-risk category who had received their second dose more than 8 months ago.
With the ongoing risk of the spread of the mutating variants of the virus, it has become evident that two doses are not enough to induce immunity against the virus. Qatari officials have now strongly recommended booster doses to all eligible individuals regardless of age.
Who are eligible for booster shots in Qatar?
Qatar has now permitted all individuals who have already received their second vaccine dose at least 6 months ago for a booster shot.
All eligible individuals who wish to maintain their Gold Vaccinated Status on Ehteraz, should get their booster shot as soon as possible and no later than 12 months after taking their second dose. The golden status is mandatory for individuals using most public facilities like restaurants.
Individuals who plan on traveling to other countries should also have their booster shot after receiving the second dose. Those who have been vaccinated outside Qatar will be given the booster dose of one of the two approved vaccines in the country (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna).
The Ministry of Public Health has announced that all individuals who received the second COVID-19 vaccine dose at least six months ago are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine. pic.twitter.com/o7h3cYhgG1
— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) November 15, 2021
How to register for the booster dose appointment?
The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) now offers COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to all individuals after six months from receiving their second COVID-19 vaccine dose. You can register for your booster dose appointment in two ways:
MOPH Online Registration: You can register your interest via the vaccine registration page on the MOPH website. You will be contacted when an appointment is available.
- Contacting PHCC’s call center hotline on 40277077 during working hours.
- Making an appointment via the PHCC Nar’aakom App.
- Visiting your registered health center to make an appointment.
- Call PHCC’s customer service team, Hayyak, on 107 for assistance.
Why should you get the booster dose?
The emergence of omicron has made booster shots even more necessary. Research has indicated that 3 vaccine doses — the two preliminary shots plus a booster could help in increasing the level of protection against a new variant like omicron.
Qatar’s MOPH vaccination head, Dr Al Bayat, advised that “the latest scientific evidence suggests that Covid vaccine protection starts to wane after eight months”. She also said that “everyone currently invited to get the booster is considered to have a higher risk of developing complications if they catch the virus because of their age or health status.”
Dr Samya Al Abdulla further confirmed that “the risk of side effects following the booster vaccine dose is no higher than the risk associated with the primary vaccine series”. The vaccine booster will help the residents to increase their immunity while avoiding severe Covid complications.
How much does the booster shot cost?
The booster shot is available free of cost across Qatar.