* Chances of reinfection low, studies in Qatar show
Under the agreement signed by the MoPH with Pfizer, Qatar will have priority in obtaining vaccination for the coronavirus, he said. He expects the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to reach the country at the end of 2020. The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, will come in the first half of 2021 based on the agreement with the company.
Dr al-Romaihi said the MoPH has made sure that there are multiple sources to obtain vaccines from to ensure that the required quantities are available in the country. Explaining the vaccination process, he said, priority will be given to people at risk of infection, such as the elderly as well as those with chronic diseases, in addition to medical personnel on the frontlines of dealing with Covid-19 cases.
He referred to the efficacy levels of Covid-19 vaccines, as announced by the two leading pharma companies, noting that Moderna's experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, while Pfizer's early data showed that its vaccine -- developed with BioNTech, is more than 90% effective. These percentages are high given that the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccine ranges between 40% and 60%, he observed.
On whether it is possible for one person to be infected with Covid-19 more than once, Dr al-Romaihi said studies conducted in Qatar indicated that the chances of getting infected twice with the virus are low -- four cases per 10,000 people. "The percentage is very small," he added.