First batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to arrive soon

The second COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Qatar within a few weeks, a senior health official has said. 

Head of the Vaccination Unit, Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Department at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Dr. Soha Al Bayat, told a live Instagram session that Qatar is just weeks away from receiving vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the US pharmaceutical company Moderna. 

“The two companies Qatar has made partnership with are Pfizer-BioNTech, which is available in Qatar at present, and Moderna. We hope to receive the first batch from Moderna in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Bayat. 

If Moderna vaccine arrives in Qatar, it will become the second vaccine against COVID-19 authorised for use in the country.

As reported earlier, Qatar has signed agreements with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to procure CCOVID-19 vaccines.

Qatar approved the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, received the first shipment of the vaccine and started the first phase of vaccination campaign on December 23. 

The Moderna vaccine has already been approved by the US, Canada and the European Union. 

The US gave the green light for emergency use in people over 18 years on December 18, followed by Canada on December 23 with an interim authorisation also for people over 18.

The European Union’s medicines agency gave the green light yesterday to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

Both Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots are mRNA vaccines, made with a groundbreaking new technology. They don’t contain any coronavirus – meaning they cannot cause infection. Instead, they use a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognise the spike protein on the surface of the virus, ready to attack if the real thing comes along.

According to Moderna, its phase 3 clinical trials showed the vaccine had an efficacy rate of approximately 92 percent two weeks after the first dose is administered. 

The second dose of Moderna’s vaccine is given four weeks after the first dose, and then the vaccine is expected to be 94 percent efficacious.

Dr. Bayat also clarified that at present the COVID-19 vaccine is not available for children. 

“So far clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine have been conducted among those above 16 years. So, it is approved for the age of 16 and above. As we speak clinical trials are being done for those aged 12 and above. Once we have sufficient data of its safety and effectiveness, the younger group will be included in vaccination campaign. As more and more trials happen lower ages will be included,” she said. 

Dr. Bayat re-emphasised that there are no major side effects reported among those received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. 

“So far there has been 3 million or more vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech and other vaccines. We speak about Pfizer-BioNTech and we have only very mild side effects. 

No major or significant side effects were reported on those in Qatar, even when it comes to the world. Some had allergy to the components of the vaccine. Otherwise, no significant side effects were reported,” she said. P4

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar