Pfizer was approved by the FDA earlier this week.
Qatar’s health authorities approved the use of a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines for those with immunodeficiency diseases, state news agency (QNA) reported on Tuesday.
The third shots – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – will not be considered a booster shot like those given to individuals with no immunodeficiency, since the immune response of vulnerable individuals to the initial vaccine shots could have weakened over time, The Ministry of Public Health said.
The decision follows a recent decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. It aims to protect citizens and residents with severe immunodeficiency as well as those who are vulnerable to developing serious complications of the Covid-19 infection.
The ministry explained that those groups “may not obtain the same level of immunity after receiving two doses of the vaccine compared to people who do not suffer from immunodeficiency.”
According to MoPH, the groups eligible to receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine include:
– Individuals who are currently receiving cancer treatments to treat tumours or leukemia.
– Individuals who have had an organ transplant and are using drugs that suppress the immune system.
– Individuals who have had a stem cell transplant within the past two years, or are using immunosuppressive drugs.
– Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (eg, DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
– Individuals with advanced or untreated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
– Individuals currently receiving treatment with high doses of corticosteroids or other medications that may suppress the immune response such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, and other immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory biological agents.
– Individuals with chronic conditions such as asplenia and chronic kidney disease.
All eligible individuals will be contacted directly through the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) or a member of the specialised care team supervising their treatment at Hamad Medical Corporation to schedule a date for the third dose.
The latest developments come as nations around the world being a rollout of a third booster shot for all.
In recent week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on wealthy nations to postpone the administration of Covid-19 booster vaccines for at least two months to give the world an opportunity to vaccinate 10% of every country’s population by the end of September.
Qatar has so far inoculated 2 million people. In its daily report on Tuesday, the ministry confirmed that 92.8% of the eligible population (12 years +) have received one dose, while over 80% have completed the full course.
Earlier this week, Qatar was ranked the second country in the world with the highest percentage of eligible population who received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data.
The Gulf state also ranked fifth in the world for the highest fully vaccinated population among countries with over one million residents.
Qatar currently 2,875 active cases and has recorded a total of 601 deaths.