Health authorities in Qatar received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
At least 48,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have now arrived in Qatar as part of an agreement with COVAX, authorities confirmed on Saturday
COVAX is a worldwide initiative co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi (the Vaccines Alliance) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which cooperates with governments and international manufacturers to accelerate the development, production and accessibility to Covid-19 vaccines around the world.
Since last year, Qatar has been administering only two brands of the approved jabs for emergency use, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
However, AstraZeneca’s vaccine has also been proven to be effective against the overspreading virus and its multiple variants.
“This recent arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines will contribute to Qatar’s supply and enable it to continue delivering its vaccination programme at pace,” said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, the Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.
“Qatar continues to make good progress in the roll-out of its National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme. The vaccines will be administered to eligible members of Qatar’s population as part of the vaccination programme which is providing free vaccines to all citizens and residents,” he added.
AstraZeneca has supplied more than 170 countries with 1 billion jabs in the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus, accounting for nearly two thirds of COVAX supply so far.
“On behalf of AstraZeneca, I would like to thank our partners at COVAX for making this possible. All partners are working round the clock to ensure that as many Covid-19 vaccines can get to as many people as soon as possible,” Sameh Elfangary, Country President for GCC and Pakistan, AstraZeneca, said in a statement.
“I was delighted to see the arrival of further doses of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to Doha. This is wonderful news for the people of Qatar,” he noted.
Al Khal stressed this “will be an important step to support Qatar’s strategic reserves of vaccine to serve the community. Qatar is a strong supporter of COVAX and is contributing $20 million to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to aid its mission to accelerate global access to Covid-19 vaccines.”
AstraZeneca seeks to provide an equitable amount of jabs to different countries around the world at no profit, the manufacturer said.
“The supply of the vaccine is estimated to have helped save tens of thousands of lives and to have significantly reduced hospitalisations,” a press release said.
Elfangary said “this milestone further demonstrates the value of governments, industry and others working together to fight against the pandemic.”
In its daily Covid report on Saturday, the ministry confirmed that 92% of the eligible population (12 years +) have received one dose, while 79.8% of the total population have received at least the first shot.
Figures show that 3,844 jabs have been administered in the past 24 hours alone.
Qatar’s vaccination centres have administered 4,231,970 vaccine shots since the start of the national vaccination campaign.
As it stands, Qatar has 2,834 active Covid-19 cases.