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Tribune News Network
At least seven people who died of COVID-19 in its third wave in Qatar had been unvaccinated and suffered severe health complications as a result of the infection, a senior health official has said.
Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Khal, the Chair of Qatar’s National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, said this illustrated the importance and effectiveness of vaccines in preventing severe complications in case of COVID-19 infection.
In a related context, Dr Khal said clinical research on COVID-19 vaccines conducted in Qatar and many other countries shows the booster dose provides protection against the infection with minor to moderate complications by 75 percent, and provides more than 90 percent of protection against severe complications or death, indicating that this high level of protection is reflected in the decrease in the number of cases of coronavirus infection that have occurred. 
He also explained that “all patients who have been admitted to the intensive care unit are either unvaccinated people or who have received the second dose of the vaccine more than 6 months and have not received the booster dose.”
Highlighting the need to complete vaccination doses, especially the booster dose for those who qualify, he said it is used in order to increase the individual's immunity against various mutations of the coronavirus, including the omicron variant. 
“Individuals who received the second dose during the past six months enjoy good levels of immunity and protection, but the percentage of immunity begins to decline gradually after the expiration of this period.”
Vaccines work to strengthen immunity more effectively and for a longer period, he said, adding that this means that anyone who received the second dose of the vaccine more than six months ago is eligible to receive the booster dose. 
Dr Khal said the vaccination plan related to the booster dose is progressing at a good pace, as more than 368,000 booster doses have been administered in Qatar, and a limited number of recipients have reported minor side effects of the booster dose. They include slight rise in body temperature, mild headache, fatigue, and pain at the site of receiving the injection, which are similar to the side effects of the second dose of the vaccine, he said.

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