Recent COVID-19 deaths were of unvaccinated people: Dr Al Khal

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has underlined that there is clear local and international clinical evidence showing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in preventing severe infection, especially with the booster dose.
Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19, said that clinical research carried out here in Qatar and in many countries around the world, shows that the booster dose provides around 75 percent protection against mild to moderate infection and more than 90 percent protection against severe infection or death, and this high level of immunity is being reflected in the COVID-19 hospital admissions in Qatar.
“The high level of immunity offered by the vaccines is obvious when it comes to COVID-19 patients who are experiencing the most severe symptoms. There have sadly been seven recent deaths in Qatar due to COVID-19 and none of these individuals had received any of their COVID-19 vaccine doses. Additionally, almost all patients admitted to intensive care units are either unvaccinated or had their second dose of the vaccine more than 6 months ago. It is noteworthy that there have been almost no ICU admissions among those who received their booster dose,” said Dr Al Khal.
“Getting vaccinated, and notably getting the booster dose, will significantly increase the individual’s immunity against all COVID-19 variants, including Omicron,” he added.
“Individuals who received their second dose within the last 6 months will have good levels of immunity but from this point onwards their protection declines. Therefore, it is extremely important for people to get their booster dose as soon as they become eligible, six months after their second dose,” he added.
Dr Al Khal stated that vaccines give stronger and longer lasting immunity than natural infection does and that anyone who had their second vaccine dose more than 6 months ago is eligible for the booster vaccine.
He explained that the roll out of booster doses is progressing at a good pace and said that following the administration of more than 368,000 booster vaccine doses in Qatar, only a limited number of people have reported modest side effects including low-grade fever, mild headache, fatigue and soreness at the injection site, which is similar to the side effects following the second dose of the vaccine. He confirmed that no serious side effects have been reported to MoPH.