FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
In Qatar, anyone who have a Hayya card for the FIFA World Cup 2022 will have access to urgent and emergency medical care services. According to Dr. Soha Al Bayat, who heads the department's health protection and communicable disease control, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH)
Speaking during a World Health Organisation (WHO) webinar on "Making Mega Sporting Events Safe and Healthy" on Monday, Dr Al Bayat said, "All the fans coming for the World Cup will have the opportunity to access emergency and urgent healthcare services in Qatar, including rapid antigen testing, even if they are not residents of the country, throughout the tournament. That is one of the reasons why the MoPH is setting up testing facilities in several areas in the country for it to be accessible to all. "
She said that all 28 government health centers and at least 100 private clinics offer fast antigen testing.
"We are also planning to set up centers and booths for rapid antigen testing in all the fan zones across Qatar, which will be accessible to everyone at a very affordable cost during the tournament," she added.
Although there will be recommended vaccines, she pointed out that no fans traveling to Qatar for the World Cup will need to be vaccinated.
"Since the tournament happens to be in the winter season, we highly recommend people get their seasonal influenza vaccinations as well as their COVID-19 vaccines, if they are not up to date with them." There might be other vaccines in general which are advised during travel anywhere in the world as well as during mass gatherings, like the FIFA World Cup, for example the meningitis vaccine, the measles vaccine, but the most recommended will be the seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccines," Dr Al Bayat said.
The top vaccination expert commented on how the COVID 19 pandemic has affected World Cup preparations, saying that while it has affected Qatar just like the rest of the world, the health authorities have been working incredibly hard to put the necessary plans in place in collaboration with local and international partners like the WHO to lessen its effects.
"We've put plans and strategies in place since the first phase of the pandemic was announced in the region at the end of 2019. "These plans were all scientific and evidence-based, and we have flexibility in our strategy to move with the new information that comes to light at any time," she said.
She pointed out that Qatar has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 mortalities and one of the greatest vaccination coverages in the world as a result of its successful implementation of policies and programs.
"We've kind of gone back to normal life, but that doesn't mean that COVID-19 is over. We've continued to strengthen all our existing plans when it comes to the risk of communicable diseases. Such a mass gathering like the World Cup has the risk of outbreaks of not just COVID-19 but other diseases as well, and we've been planning for this for years since we were awarded the hosting rights. Our plans have been going on for the past 10 years. COVID-19 only sped up these plans and helped to further enhance it, " she said.
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