Dubai: The Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, said that Qatar will only allow fully vaccinated people to attend the World Cup next year and that one million doses are in the works if global vaccination efforts fail. The Gulf Arab state will host the four-week tournament in November 2022, and FIFA’s president has confirmed the matches will be held in full stadiums. He also told newspapers that most countries were expected to have vaccination programs in place by then, but Qatar was still taking measures to ensure a successful event.
‘We are currently negotiating with a company to provide one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in order to immunize and vaccinate some of those coming to Qatar,’ he said in remarks also carried by state news agency QNA late on Sunday, without identifying the firm.
It was not immediately clear how those vaccines would be made available. Most coronavirus vaccines require two doses administered weeks apart.
Qatari officials had said they hoped to hold a coronavirus-free tournament and planned to provide vaccinations to those who are not yet immunized. Qatar vaccinates its citizens and residents with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. According to a media Covid-19 tracker, it has administered at least 2.8 million vaccines, enough to vaccinate a proportion of its population of about 50.8%.
Sheikh Khalid said that the 2021 Arab Cup, which Doha is hosting in December, would display Qatar’s willingness to host major tournaments. He said that a large number of stadiums had been built and work continued on three stadiums including Lusail Stadium, which will host the final match of World Cup 2022 and was now 90% complete.