MOPH, Health Sector Partners Celebrate World Immunization Week amidst Roll-out of Largest National Vaccination Campaign against COVID-19

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) celebrate World Immunization Week during the period 24-30 April 2021. This year’s celebrations are organized under the theme “Vaccines Bring Us Closer”, which was selected by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The celebrations of the World Immunization week this year comes amid the implementation of the largest vaccination campaign in Qatar’s history for the vaccination of the population against Corona Virus (COVID-19). The celebrations focus this year on the importance of taking the vaccination during this pandemic in order to prevent and curb the spread of the virus. The World Immunization Week also aims at highlighting the importance of vaccines in general, and assist in the launch of a long-term vaccination support.

Moreover, the celebrations aim at promoting the importance of awareness to protect persons of all ages against diseases, enhance children’s health, as well as highlighting the importance of regularly taking the vaccination which is considered as the base and foundation to guarantee the establishment of solid, deep rooted and flexible health systems and a comprehensive healthcare coverage. Vaccination can save millions of lives every year and is recognized as one of the most effective healthcare interventions worldwide.

In this context, awareness is intensified through various types of media with the aim of raising public awareness on the importance of vaccination, its vital role in eliminating contagious diseases, and increase vaccination rates. In addition, awareness messages will be displayed on screens across all Primary Healthcare Centers.

On this occasion, Dr. Hamad Eid Al-Rumaihi, Director of the Department of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at MOPH, said that vaccination is considered as one of the most successful interventions in the field of public health and the State of Qatar is always very keen to reach the highest coverage rate of safe and high quality vaccinations.

Regarding the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, Dr. Al-Rumaihi said: “The implementation of the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Qatar is progressing at a rapid pace, whereas nearly 1,400,000 doses have been administered to the most venerable members of the community. The Ministry of Public Health is keen to secure the best internationally approved vaccines which are considered a crucial tool for the control of this pandemic and the gradual return to normal life.”

Dr. Al-Rumaihi added that the vaccination process by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna is progressing rapidly across PHCC health centers, the Qatar National Convention Center, the new vaccination Centre in the Industrial Area, and the two drive-through vaccination Centers in Lucille and Al-Wakrah Areas.

Dr. Soha Al Bayat, Head of Vaccination at the Ministry of Public Health, explained that immunization is known to save millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the most effective healthcare interventions in the world. “Vaccines have been used for hundreds of years to protect people by providing immunity from many serious diseases including hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis and seasonal influenza. The global COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the largest vaccination campaign in history, is highlighting the important role that vaccines play in protecting people of all ages and health status from disease,” she said.

“Almost every country in the world has been affected by COVID-19 and after more than a year living under the threat of the virus, the COVID-19 vaccines now offer the best hope of a return towards normal life. Around the world, and here in Qatar, the public response to the COVID-19 vaccines has been overwhelmingly positive, and globally, around 16 million people are receiving a vaccine dose every day,” added Dr. Al Bayat.

Dr. Muna Al Malsamani, Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Center at HMC, said the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Qatar is helping to protect the population from the threat of the virus. “The Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna vaccines being used in Qatar have been shown through extensive clinical trials to be safe and effective and are around 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after two doses. We have known since the start of the pandemic that the virus poses the greatest threat to the health of the elderly, and so it is extremely reassuring to know that own our data here in Qatar shows that within the over 60s age group, non-vaccinated people are 40 times more likely to be admitted to ICU than those who are fully vaccinated. This is clear, real-world evidence, that these vaccines work,” said Dr. Al Maslamani.

Dr. Khalid El-Awad, Director of the Health Protection Department at PHCC said the World Health Organization estimates that vaccinations are so effective that they can prevent between two to three million deaths worldwide each year and he encouraged people to listen to trusted health information and ensure they receive all recommended vaccinations. “At PHCC we offer a wide range of vaccines to people at all stages of their lives and we know that vaccines play an incredibly important role in supporting people’s health and saving lives. For this reason, it is important that people receive information related to vaccines only from official sources as there is a lot of misleading and incorrect information circulating on the internet and social media. While we focus our efforts for now on the COVID-19 vaccines, there remains a need to ensure routine vaccinations – such as for the seasonal flu – are not missed,” said Dr. El Awad.

Source: Ministry of Public Health