95% of those who receive Covid19 vaccine develop antibodies: MoPH official
Each person’s body responds different to vaccines and illnesses even if one does not develop enough antibodies and get the infection, the effect will be mild.
According to Dr. Soha Al Bayat, Head of Vaccination at MoPH, “About 95% people who received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have developed antibodies. Each person’s body responds different to vaccines and illnesses. Even if you don’t develop enough antibodies and get the infection, the effect will be mild.”
Dr. Al Bayat also emphasized on that clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine did not include either pregnant or lactating women and children below the age of 16, and available data is so far insufficient to determine any risks to them posed by the vaccine.
The senior official at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) clarified several queries raised by the public during a live question and answer session hosted on Instagram, yesterday.
Dr Bayat, said that people will need to continue taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19 despite taking first dose of the vaccine. She said sufficient antibodies will develop against COVID-19 virus after taking second dose of the vaccination.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at present being administrated in Qatar can be effective for a minimum of four to five months according to initial clinical trials.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is new; it’s very difficult to say for how long it will be effective. Research is still ongoing into how strong that protection is and how long it lasts. But clinical trials show that it can be effective for minimum of four to five months hopefully it will be more. Follow up is being done with people who are vaccinated,” she said.
Dr. Al Bayat also stressed the need for about 70%of the population to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to ensure that enough people have antibodies and public can go back to normal life without restrictions. The clinical trial data for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine show that when both shots of the dual-injection immunization are taken, three weeks apart, they are about 95% effective.
“No pregnant women were included in the trial but no significant contra indications are shown at this at this stage… Technically speaking it should be safe but there is no scientific evidence,” said Dr. Al Bayat.
Dr. Al Bayat who recently received first dose of COVID-19 vaccine ruled out of any serious side effects caused. “So far about 2 million people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in the US, more than a million in the UK and many others around the world including in Qatar. Some have shown very modest side effects including mild fever, mild headache, fatigue and soreness at the injection site, which is commonly seen with other vaccines,” said Dr. Al Bayat.
“When we receive the next batches of the COVID-19 vaccine we will gradually include every category of the population. The vaccine is given free and to everyone regardless of their nationality,” said Dr. Al Bayat. She also highlighted that the vaccine is not mandatory in Qatar but encouraged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Qatar started the roll-out by vaccinating people of over 70 age and some healthcare staff on December 23. In the first phase of vaccination preference will be given to people over 70 years old, adults in chronic care and home care facilities, healthcare personnel most at risk of infection and people over 16 years of age with severe chronic diseases. The first phase of vaccination will continue until January 31, 2021.
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