Qatar, Oman approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, prepare for shipments

Qatar, Oman approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, prepare for shipments
Qatar is expected to recieve its first shipment of the shot on Monday, eligible to those aged 16 and above in the oil-rich gulf country.
2 min read
21 December, 2020
Oman is set to receive its first shipment on Wednesday [Getty]
Qatar's health ministry has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use and is expected the first shipment of the shot on Monday, according to state media.

Those aged 16 and above will be eligible to receive a dose, a ministry statement said,

The oil-rich gulf state has also penned an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Moderna, whose vaccine has reported 94% efficacy against the virus, one percentage point lower than its Pfizer-BioNTech counterpart.

Separately, Oman’s health ministry on Monday announced that it was due to receive its first shipment of the Pfizer shot on Wednesday, in a tweet carried on an official government account.

Muscat's first phase roll out is said to cover 20% of its population.

Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to kick off its innoculation programme with Pfizer-BioNTech shot on Thursday, part of a three-phase strategy, which begins with those aged over 65 as well as those with chronic ailment or at a high risk of infection.

Riyadh’s authorisation followed that of Bahrain, which joined the UAE to roll out a vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) to the general public.

Read more: UAE rolls out Covid-19 vaccinations in Abu Dhabi

China has four vaccines, including Sinopharm, in the final stages of development and has reached advanced stages of mass trials in a countries including the UAE and Turkey.

Yet unlike the vaccine developed by Moderna and Pfizer, little information has been published about the safety or efficacy of Chinese vaccines.

In Peru, clinical trials of a Sinopharm vaccine were suspended after neurological problems were detected in a test volunteer.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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