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Covid-19 Booster Vaccination Campaign Begins

by Tesneem Ayoub

Individuals who are eligible for a third booster Covid-19 vaccine dose will be able to get it from today, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). This dose is currently offered to individuals who have a higher risk of severe Covid-19 infection and have had their second dose at least eight months ago. Individuals considered to have heightened risk include those over 65, people with certain chronic conditions, and frontline healthcare and other workers.

The MOPH says this decision aligns with recent clinical evidence showing that immunity from Covid vaccines generally starts to decrease after eight months. This seems to be especially true when it comes to protecting against mild and moderate infections. The health body also says that the additional dose is safe and can boost antibody protection against different variants of the Covid virus, including Delta.

Furthermore, the MOPH affirms that the vaccine used for the booster will be the same type used for the first and second doses and that this currently only applies to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

 

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will contact eligible individuals to make an appointment. Still, the MOPH encourages those who meet the criteria and have had their last dose at least eight months ago to call the PHCC themselves if they have not been contacted. They can reach them on 4027-7077.

 

It is important to note that this booster dose differs from the third dose the MOPH announced would be given to substantially immunocompromised people a few weeks ago. That dose is not considered a booster dose and helps protect those who may never get enough protection from two doses. Individuals eligible for this include:

 

  • people on active cancer treatment
  • people who received an organ transplant and are taking immune-suppressing medicines
  • people who have had a stem cell transplant in the last two years or are taking immune-suppressing medicines for one
  • people with moderate or severe primary immune deficiency (like DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • people with advanced or untreated HIV
  • people currently treated with high-dose steroids (corticosteroids) or tumour-necrosis blockers (TNF) or other drugs/agents that suppress or change the immune system
  • people with conditions like asplenia or chronic kidney disease

 

People who meet these criteria are expected to be contacted by the PHCC or someone from their specialist care team at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to book this dose.

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