COVID-19 Vaccination in Qatar
Located on the waters of the Persian Gulf, Qatar has an estimated COVID-19 vaccination rate of about 87%, administering more than 4.9 million doses to its people. It is a population percentage much higher than a number of other countries, including the United States, where just 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated.


Qatar has fewer than 2.5 million inhabitants, more comparable to U.S. states like New Mexico or Kansas. Additionally, it seems that a higher vaccination rate has made a difference when it comes to the Middle Eastern country’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Cases are currently at around 8% of what Qatar had during its time of peak infections, dating back to May 2020 when there were a reported 2,300 new infections each day.

According to Qatar’s government communications office, the country has reported some 150 new coronavirus cases by late November 2021, with more than 100 of those afflicted ultimately recovering. Since the start of the pandemic, Qatar has reported a total of 242,000 cases, with 239,000 recoveries and 611 deaths.

Qatar’s infection rate has climbed a bit in recent weeks. Additionally, while the country’s efforts are better than some of its neighbors, like Yemen — which had climbed to 11% of its peak before dropping again — Qatar is behind others, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, which reported between 1% and 2% of their respective peaks.

Bahrain, for example, averages a little more than 20 new infections per day in a recent week, with 87% of the country completely vaccinated. Saudi Arabia has more than 35 new infections each day with 69% fully vaccinated. Oman is averaging about seven new infections daily with a 59% vaccination rate.

The UAE reported just fewer than 80 new infections each day with a vaccination rate of more than 100%. Yet, Yemen has kept its numbers mostly under control — reporting a half-dozen new infections each day despite just a little more than 1% of its population being fully vaccinated.


The U.S. has shared with those living or visiting Qatar the precautions the country has implemented since July 2020 to help limit the spread of the coronavirus there. That includes a little bit of technology — a smartphone app called Ehteraz used for contact tracing.

The country also limits the number of people allowed in cars, and how far athletes can travel to participate in sports. Of course, there are requirements for face masks and social distancing. Anyone not abiding by these rules faces stiff fines and potential jail time.

Qatar is currently in what it describes as its fourth phase of reopening, allowing some gatherings and small groups, and the elimination of masks in open public places, except where otherwise required — like in organized public events, schools and mosques.

Currently, the State Department has a travel heath advisory of Level 3 due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. It advises anyone entering the country to be fully vaccinated.

Vaccine Distribution

Despite what appears to be high COVID-19 vaccination rates in Qatar, a study published in the National Library of Medicine in May 2021 suggests about 20% of the country’s population does not want the coronavirus vaccine. Surveys occurred in November 2020, before vaccines had received government approvals in many countries, including the United States, and when people were still building knowledge about the safety of the vaccine. The survey involved more than 7,800 adults.

Since then, Qatar has approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use and is available to everyone for free. However, the Qatari government recommends those at higher risk — such as the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, as well as health care workers — are first in line.

COVID-19’s Impact on Qatar’s Economy and People

The effects of COVID-19 have, for obvious reasons, reduced worldwide travel. This has led to OPEC reporting its lowest demand for oil in 30 years. The heaviest impacted sectors of Qatari society include manufacturing, real estate and transportation. Finance and construction also have experienced a moderate impact on Qatar’s expected gross domestic product, according to KPMG International.

How Qatar is Doing its Part

During the Global Vaccine Summit in June 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was at its worst, Qatar pledged the equivalent of $20 million in U.S. currency to GAVI. GAVI is an international vaccine organization that intends to help underserved countries in the world through the global COVAX initiative.

The money Qatar donated was double its earlier pledge of $10 million that lasted from 2016-2020. The money from 2016-2020 went directly to GAVI with no funding for COVAX. GAVI will distribute the money evenly with $10 million going to funding GAVI’s core programs from 2021-2025 and the other $10 million will help finance the COVAX AMC initiative10.

COVID-19 vaccination in Qatar is at remarkably high levels. The vaccine and other measures still in place in the country have dramatically reduced the number of active and new coronavirus cases in the country to a fraction of their peaks in the summer of 2020.

– Julian Smith
Photo: Unsplash

Common Diseases in the GambiaCommon diseases in The Gambia all but summarize the maladies that come to mind when one thinks of impoverished African nations. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, several of the diseases that account for the most deaths are communicable – also known as infectious diseases.

Among the top causes of death are both lower respiratory infections and HIV/AIDS. They hold the number one and two spots, respectively, for greatest quantity of lives taken. Also among the common diseases in The Gambia are diarrhoeal diseases, neonatal sepsis and malaria. These diseases are responsible for an even larger percentage of premature deaths in The Gambia. Among the top 10 most common causes of death in the small West African nation, eight out of 10 are communicable diseases, with lower respiratory infections and neonatal sepsis causing the most untimely deaths.

Common diseases in The Gambia were also looked at on a smaller, more grassroots scale in a paper from the US National Library of Medicine. The article explored the deaths caused by disease in the rural town of Farafenni. According to the article, death in the small town was “dominated by communicable diseases.” The study goes on to cite the two most dangerous causes of death as the mosquito-borne malaria and acute respiratory infections (ARI) or lower respiratory infections. As for children under the age of five, diarrhoeal diseases were a major contributor to childhood deaths.

However, the article also expresses a lot of good news. The results show that of the 3,203 deaths recorded, mortality at all ages declined from 15 out of every 1,000 people to 8 out of every 1,000 people, from 1998 to 2007. Children saw the greatest improvement in their overall survival rate, dropping from 27 out of every 1,000 people to a mere seven.

There are also significant scientific advances and programs being funded to combat illness in The Gambia. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) lists their largest financial investment in The Gambia as malaria-based studies. In particular, these studies explore severe cases of malaria in children as well as methods that could potentially curb the population of mosquitoes.

One scientific advancement with the ability to take on common diseases in The Gambia is a vaccine being implemented to fight against pneumococcal infections – diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 1.6 million people die every year from pneumococcal infections, 800,000 of which are children. The trial for this pneumococcal vaccine was the first in over 20 years to show a statistically significant reduction in child mortality.

Another scientific advancement that could help in the fight against diseases in The Gambia comes from the sequenced genome of a mosquito. With this genome sequence, scientists could potentially genetically alter the species responsible for the spread of diseases like the dengue fever and yellow fever to make them incapable of carrying the disease.

With mortality rates from certain communicable diseases already declining as well as these promising scientific developments currently being made, the future of common diseases in The Gambia is looking brighter than ever.

Stephen Praytor

Photo: Flickr