Will COVID-19 vaccine be safe to take? How can I get vaccinated? — Here's a guide from Qatar GCO
The Government Communications Office (GCO) has published preventative measures to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It has also shared helpful information about the COVID-19 vaccination in Qatar.
Here are the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers provided by GCO in its website.
What is the COVID-19 vaccine and what is it used for?
The COVID-19 vaccine is used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The vaccine works by triggering the body’s natural production of antibodies and stimulates immune cells to protect against COVID-19 disease.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be safe to take?
Yes. The vaccine has followed a strict testing and approval process. All steps that are normally followed in developing new vaccines have been taken but at an accelerated pace, thanks to the advanced technology and upfront investments being made by governments.
It is important to note that the whole world has been committed to finding a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and never has so much effort and resources been put into the development of a vaccine.
How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be given as an injection into the arm. The vaccination series is two doses given three weeks (21 days) apart.
If you receive one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should receive a second dose of the same vaccine three weeks later to complete the vaccination series.
Is there a possibility that the COVID-19 vaccine will give me COVID-19?
No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain SARS-CoV-2 and cannot give you COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 vaccines be available for everyone in Qatar?
Qatar aims to procure sufficient quantities of the COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate every citizen and resident in the country who is eligible. However, because limited quantities of the vaccine will be available initially, certain population groups who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 complications will therefore be given priority to ensure early access to the vaccines.
Vaccines will be prioritised for three key population groups: elderly people, people with severe chronic conditions and key healthcare workers with repeated exposure to COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 vaccines be free for citizens and residents of Qatar?
Yes. Qatar will provide the COVID-19 vaccines to citizens and residents free of charge.
Do I need the COVID-19 vaccine if I have already had the virus?
Yes. COVID-19 is still a relatively new and unknown virus and while research to date indicates that people who have been infected with COVID-19 build up a natural immunity, it is unclear how long this immunity lasts for and how effective it is.
Is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for children?
No. The Ministry of Public Health’s Pharmacy and Drug Control Department has currently approved its use only for people aged 16 years and older as vaccine trials have focused on safety and efficacy for adults.
Can people with allergies take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine?
People with a significant history of allergic reactions will not be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Anyone with an allergy should discuss this with the doctor before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
How can I make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you are eligible to receive the vaccine at this stage, you will be contacted by the health authorities for an appointment.
Initially, COVID-19 vaccination appointments will only available for people from the three key population groups: elderly people, people with severe chronic conditions and key healthcare workers with repeated exposure to COVID-19.
The appointment process for the rest of the population will be announced as and when more quantities of the vaccine arrive in Qatar in 2021.
What should I mention to my vaccination provider before I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Please tell the vaccination provider about all medical conditions, including if you:
• have any allergies
• have a fever
• have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
• are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
• are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
• are breastfeeding
• have received another COVID-19 vaccine
Will life return to normal once the COVID-19 vaccines are available in Qatar?
2020 has been a difficult year for people around the world and COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of daily life. The arrival and widespread uptake of the approved COVID-19 vaccines among Qatar’s population will hopefully enable us to return to our pre-COVID-19 lifestyles.
Who should I contact if I have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, please call the 16000 helpline for support.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine visit the Ministry of Public Health’s website.