A third wave of Covid-19 is not expected in Qatar as the vaccines used in the country provide high levels of protection and are among the best in the world, stated Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation.
“We are on our way to winning the battle against the Covid-19 with 60% of the population vaccinated with one dose and 46% with two doses," he told Qatar TV Thursday in an interview.
Pointing out that 40% of the eligible population is yet to receive the vaccination and hence vulnerable to infection and spreading Covid-19, Dr al-Khal urged caution until 80 or 90% are vaccinated. "This is because the virus has mutations,” he explained.
“I advise everyone to take the vaccine and give the vaccine to their children (12-17 years) as its effectiveness and safety have been proven. The side effects of the vaccine are generally mild and there is no medical objection to vaccination except for people who are allergic to the first dose,” he said, noting that the allergy rate from the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is very low.
The Covid-19 situation in Qatar is improving as reflected on all indicators monitored by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in terms of daily infection, the percentage of daily positive examinations and the number of hospital admissions and intensive care cases.
“Going back is possible, as it happened before. When we entered the second wave of the pandemic several months ago we had to go back and impose more restrictions. We were able to control the epidemic by imposing more restrictions in addition to expanding the vaccination,” he said.
Dr al-Khal urged everyone to continue to adhere to the precautionary measures. “It’s like an adventure because the virus, even for the youth, is difficult to predict its symptoms. And even if the person recovers, he may suffer from chronic symptoms such as fatigue, lack of focus and headache,” he said.
The official warned that the symptoms of infection and illness may be more severe if the vaccine is not taken. "Those who do not take the vaccine are risking their health and lives because they leave themselves exposed to the virus."
Dr al-Khal further explained that giving exemptions for vaccinated people from the restrictions is not discrimination. “The infection rate among the vaccinated in closed places is less unlike among those unvaccinated."