Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid, Executive Director of Qatar Computing Research Institute – part of QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University – on his experience of being vaccinated against COVID-19, and why he believes the vaccine is vital to defeating the pandemic
2020 was a year like no other, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting life as we know it. While it was a hard slog at times, it was perspective-inducing as well.
While the promise of a lasting solution is exciting, it does not come without obligation
As the year came to a close, I felt fortunate to have made it through relatively unscathed but was also looking forward to an elixir in the form of a vaccine that would provide some long-term assurance that things would one day return to normal. With the year-end approval of several COVID-19 effective vaccines, developed simultaneously by leading pharmaceutical companies and experts in their fields, hope emerged for 2021.
While the promise of a lasting solution is exciting, it does not come without obligation. Our collective responsibility is to remain vigilant in limiting the existing spread of COVID-19 and educating ourselves on the importance of widespread vaccinations as the only surefire way to tackle the pandemic.
When I recently became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I happily accepted the opportunity
With this view in mind, when I recently became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I happily accepted the opportunity. Despite some of the uncertainty surrounding the vaccine’s new mRNA technology, I exercised due diligence and, in time, was assured of the vaccine’s efficacy. My decision was supported by extensive reading and countless discussions with leading infectious disease experts and colleagues in the scientific research field. In short, I went the extra mile to educate myself and made sure that the information I was consuming came from trusted and vetted sources such as the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization, among others.
As the first person in my family to receive the vaccine, I was eager to lead the way and relay the experience to my family in preparation for their eventual appointments. As conveyed to them, I was impressed by the professional and efficient operation from start to finish. From the flexible scheduling, to the adept in-office processing, to the immaculately clean facility, to the administration of the vaccine and monitoring for adverse reactions, it is hard to imagine having had a more positive experience. I was back to work within an hour and suffered no notable side effects. It was evident that the Ministry of Public Health had not only developed robust protocols for the vaccine’s rollout, but they had also been thoughtful in the campaign’s implementation.
The most significant inroads we can make toward building personal and communal protection from the coronavirus will stem from our collective actions
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine was important for me personally, but I am just one individual. Not unlike viruses that preceded this one, the most significant inroads we can make toward building personal and communal protection from the coronavirus will stem from our collective actions. It is imperative that we think not only of ourselves but also of others, not the least of which are the most vulnerable among us. Ultimately, the COVID-19 vaccine is the clearest route to a return to pre-pandemic life.
I feel privileged to live in a country that values high-quality, timely, and accessible healthcare for all its citizens and residents. I am proud to have done my part and hope you will consider doing yours, too.