* More people to access vaccine as priority group age threshold lowered
* 27 health centres now provide Covid-19 vaccine
* Students who receive government scholarships and study abroad included to receive vaccine
All residents and citizens aged 60 years and above are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Qatar, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said Sunday while announcing an amendment to the age threshold for priority groups to receive the vaccine.
Also, all 27 health centres under the Primary Health Care Corporation have started providing the vaccine while students who receive government scholarships and study abroad have also been included to receive the vaccine.
The announcement on lowering the age threshold comes in continuation of the implementation of the national strategy for vaccination against Covid-19, which consists of four phases over the course of this year, the MoPH said in a statement.
This step represents a major expansion in the vaccination programme along with the addition of other categories of people with chronic diseases. The programme aims to give priority in providing Covid-19 vaccines to people who are most vulnerable to severe complications related to the coronavirus, the main frontline workers in certain ministries and government institutions and students who have received government scholarships and study abroad.
MoPH launches online registration for vaccine
The decision to amend the minimum age comes as part of the first phase of the national plan, which requires the inclusion of younger age groups gradually over the coming weeks.
The MoPH also announced that it is launching a new online registration process to allow citizens and residents to register their desire to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, said: "The expansion that has begun Sunday in the Covid-19 vaccination programme will enable us to provide the vaccine to a larger segment of the community, and I invite all people who meet the requirements for vaccination to book appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest opportunity."
"Although this phase of the vaccination programme allows us to provide the vaccine to more people, we continue to target the population groups most vulnerable to the health complications associated with Covid-19. They include the elderly and people with some severe chronic diseases, as well as key frontline workers in the health sector and key workers in other public sectors, including education, which will contribute to ensuring that protection is first provided to those most vulnerable to serious complications from Covid-19.
“In addition to ensuring continuity of work in the essential sectors, students with government scholarships will be given priority, which will allow our students to travel easily and also provide them with the necessary protection against the virus in order to ensure that they do not stop studying."
As of Sunday, the Covid-19 vaccines will be available in 27 health centres, and the MoPH "invites all people aged 60 years and above, and people with severe chronic diseases who are keen to take the vaccine".