Quarantine exemption validity for all vaccines used in Qatar extended
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) announced today that children aged from 12 to 15 years are to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Qatar and the validity for quarantine exemption of all vaccines administered in Qatar will be extended from the previously approved six months to nine months.
The Ministry also confirmed today that all people aged over 30 will be eligible to receive the vaccine after the Eid holiday.
Extending the opportunity for children aged 12 to 15 years to take the Pfizer vaccine comes shortly after Pfizer said that its study of the vaccine's use in participants 12 to 15 years old found that it was 'safe and extremely effective in preventing COVID-19 cases', and the US Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in the US.
The MOPH added offering the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds in Qatar will help to ensure a return to greater normality when the school year starts this coming September. Parents will be able to register their children to take the vaccine through the Ministry of Public Health website (www.moph.gov.qa) from Sunday 16 May, after which they will be contacted by the Primary Health Care Corporation.
In addition to this, following a range of global studies looking at the effectiveness of the vaccine, the Ministry of Public Health also announced the validity for quarantine exemption of all vaccines administered in Qatar will be extended from the previously approved six months to nine months from today onwards. The extension means that vaccinated people will have longer to take advantage of the additional privileges announced through the Lifting of Restrictions plan published earlier this week.
It also means that fully vaccinated people are exempt from quarantine requirements following travel abroad (except for six specific countries) and following exposure to a COVID-19 positive case for a period of nine months - starting 14 days after receiving the second dose.
Today's news comes in the week when Qatar announced that more than half the eligible population has been vaccinated with at least one vaccine dose as well as setting out a route map to the gradual lifting of restrictions.
Speaking about today's announcement, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal said: "We now have very strong scientific evidence that shows that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for 12-15-year-olds and we want to ensure that every child in this age group has the opportunity to get vaccinated soon.
"Getting our young people vaccinated will not only protect them against the virus but will give us the opportunity to have less restrictions in schools in the future and may significantly reduce the interruptions to the education system that we have seen at times during the pandemic. It will also allow our younger people to have greater freedoms to socialise and participate in activities going forward.
"Global evidence is also clear that the protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide is lasting beyond 6 months which is very encouraging news for everyone. Today's announcement extending the validity of the vaccine from 6 months to 9 months should give everyone much greater piece of mind."