The Ministry of Public Health’s (MOPH) social media pages have published statements from senior health officials urging everyone who has not accepted their vaccine invitation to do so as soon as possible.
One of the officials quoted was Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, the National Health Strategic Group chair on Covid-19 and head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). He says that the national vaccination programme has been immensely successful so far, with around seven in ten of the eligible population receiving two doses of a Covid vaccine and eight in ten receiving one. Despite that, he says that a minority of those currently meeting the eligibility criteria have not booked their first dose and urges them to reconsider this. “The new variants of the virus are more contagious and more serious, so it is more important than ever to get vaccinated,” he says. Dr Al Khal has also asked those people to reflect on the impact of the pandemic in the last 18 months and understand that vaccination is a way out.
Dr Muna Al Maslamani, the medical director of HMC’s Communicable Disease Centre, agrees with Dr Al Khal. She says that local evidence shows that the high vaccination rate is helping to keep the number of new cases low and curb hospitalisation rates. “There have been very few cases in recent months where fully vaccinated patients have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.”
The case for reaching herd immunity with vaccine coverage seems more pertinent than ever as Dr Yousef Al Maslamani, Hamad General Hospital’s medical director, says that cases of the delta variant of Covid-19 have been recently detected in Qatar. On Monday, Dr Maslamani told Qatar Television that the new, highly infectious variant was found here around four months after first being discovered in February. He said that this delay allowed vaccination rates to increase and enhance the population’s immunity to it.
With all that said, Dr Maslamani reiterated the need to stick to the current preventive measures. So wash your hands, mask up, and practise social distancing.