Qatar Foundation students are receiving priority vaccination in the Qatar National Convention Center. However, many of them complained about a tedious and disorganized vaccination process in QNCC, where they had to spend hours in line.
Northwestern University in Qatar’s student affairs department sent out an announcement to the student body about COVID-19 vaccinations on March 9. Students received a form to fill out if they wish to be vaccinated in QNCC.
“We are prioritizing our current enrolled students at the moment, family members residing in Qatar are welcome to register separately with the Ministry of Public Health,” the email noted.
NU-Q students who filled out the form received a text from the Primary Health Care Corporation with the appointment details to facilitate the vaccination. Several students visited QNCC on their designated date and got vaccinated. Several NU-Q students had their appointments on March 17, Georgetown University in Qatar students had appointments on March 20 and March 21, and other NU-Q students will get vaccinated on April 17.
“Students were asked to submit details of their QID and Hamad health cards, and that information has been passed on to QF [Qatar Foundation]. We’ve heard from students that many of them are now getting appointments.”
The Ministry of Public Health planned these appointments and prioritization to ensure a smooth, safe, and comfortable vaccination for the population. Although students have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be vaccinated thanks to QF, they shared some concerns about getting vaccinated in the QNCC.
Up to 500 health workers and volunteers work up to 16 hours a day to accommodate thousands of vaccinations every week, according to an article by The Peninsula. Some QF students reported that QNCC is congested most of the time, and this hinders the efforts of the organization and reduces comfort.
“The process of getting vaccinated in QNCC was so long and tedious. It definitely did not feel like we were ‘prioritized’ despite us signing up to be priorities. The line took four hours to get through and I know in the males’ section, my friend had to wait six hours. The line was also very contradictory for what we were doing because there was no social distancing whatsoever in a place of easily above 200 people,” said Allyssa Magpantay, a business administration student at Carnegie-Mellon University in Qatar, said.
Ali Umair Ahmar, a communications sophomore at NU-Q, expressed similar frustration. “I waited for two hours outside, and it was blistering hot that day! I was lucky I brought my hat, and they were passing out water. But I was lucky I was in a t-shirt. But then when I went inside, it was super cold! Like 18 degrees cold. So, I was freezing inside, and no one told me to bring a jacket and I was there shivering, and I took three naps because it was so cold,” he said.
Moom Thahinah, a communications junior, said “the process was really long, extremely disorganized, and not socially distanced at all. It felt like hunger games, to be honest. People were running to grab chairs and get the seat first. But after five hours, I finally got my turn. Maybe it got better after my appointment and it could have been because our timing was after 3 pm on Thursday. People were rushing after work. It was interesting because for a 10 min vaccine process, we waited five hours. I know people who waited more, especially in the men’s area.”
Despite the exhaustion that the vaccination process caused students, most of them shared with The Daily Q that they feel grateful and privileged to have received the vaccine. They said they hope that the vaccine will provide safety from COVID-19 and prevent putting others at risk.
“I want to protect my family, especially my diabetic father and my high blood pressure mother. I also wanted to make sure I’d rather get the vaccine than spread corona— prevention is better than cure,” said Thahinah.