The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 Lead for Healthy Aging, Dr Hanadi Al Hamad, emphasized the significance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine on the last remaining older people age group in Qatar. His messages comes right after the presence of delta variant was detected in the country.
Dr. Al Hamad said, “Similar to most countries around the world, the delta variant is now prominent in Qatar. This particular virus is more contagious and causes more severe symptoms than other strains, which is especially risky for our elderly population who are more at risk due to physiological changes that come with aging and potential underlying health conditions.”
In the same message, he added, “Our records show that the majority of hospital admissions for people over 65 are of individuals who are not fully vaccinated. It is so important that people understand that COVID-19 can be a dangerous illness, particularly for older people. It is even more dangerous for those who have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, that affect the bodys natural ability to fight infections.”
Some fears of elderly people when deciding on whether to get vaccine are potential adverse reactions, underestimating the seriousness of the disease and confusion about the risks of vaccines. Furthermore, these reluctances can be increased by misinformation.
Hamad Medical Corporation uses its Elderly Telephone Reassurance Service to help the remaining unvaccinated people, who are 65 and over. Staff from Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care are in constant contact patients or caregivers, providing reassurances in terms of the safety of the vaccine and protection for families and the elderly.
Dr. Al-Hamad described, “We sometimes get families asking why their father or mother, who is perhaps over 80 years old and homebound, should get vaccinated and whether it is even safe for them given their frail state. Our answer is that even if you dont go out much, you can still get infected through friends, family or other people in your household. It is important for older people to engage in family life but it is better for them to first have the added protection that this vaccine brings.”
“The vaccines provided by the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar are very safe; although the vaccines may have been developed only last year, they are based on effective clinical research and use tried and test methodology that has been around for many years. In Qatar have we already administered over 3.8 million doses; we have also vaccinated nine out of ten people aged 65 and above. Our goal now is to reach the remaining older adults in the country who are eligible to receive the vaccine and help them get the protection they deserve.”
In order for the vaccines to be easily accessible to the elderly or for their family to book a vaccination appointment, a call can be made to the PHCC on 4027 7077 or HMCs Home Healthcare Service call centre on 4439 0111. Alternatively, they can visit the Ministry of Public Health COVID-19 website: covid19.moph.gov.qa.