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A copy of the leaflet we were given
On arriving back in Doha when Ethan was 5 weeks old, I immediately went about having him added to our family medical cover at the RasGas clinic. I arrived at the medical centre to do this one morning, only to be told that the company would need to send some documentation over to them before he could be put on their system. This was done fairly promptly and I then started to question how to get him immunised.

The immunisation programme in the UK commences with the first set of injections at 2 months, followed by further jabs at 3 and 4 months. As a parent you are sent a reminder when your baby is due to receive them. 

In Qatar, the timings are slightly different and the initial round of jabs are spread out over a longer period, given at 2, 4 and 6 months. Due to the large volume of workers here from certain countries, the TB vaccination is also given to babies at birth. The other vaccinations are similar to those administered in the UK, with just a few variations. You are not sent any reminders when vaccinations are due, although do get given a leaflet which outlines all the necessary information you need. KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE!

So following the advice I had been given, I turned up at the Clinic when Ethan was 2 months old and took my ticket ready to see the Doctor - you do not need to make an advance appointment to see a general doctor here, but just turn up and wait your turn. This is great, especially as the waiting time is usually no more than 5-15 minutes (in my experience)! 

I was soon called into the Doctors office and found that before any injections here they give the baby a thorough examination rather than just asking you if your baby is well - Ethan had his ears and throat checked, his temperature taken and the doctor also listened to his heart and checked his chest for signs of anything amiss. The opportunity was also taken to measure his length and head circumference and to weigh him. I did find it odd however that he was weighed fully clothed, especially as he hadn't had a nappy change for a while! And it was at this juncture that I learnt that UK pounds and ounzes are NOT the same as American ones - I was asked Ethan's birth weight but when the Doctor converted it into kgs he came up with a different weight to Ethan's UK records!

Once all the checks were complete the Doctor was happy to send us off with the nurse to another room for the injections to be administered. A friend had pre-warned me that the bedside manner when doing this task was not quite the same as back in the UK, where you sit cuddling your child on your lap, while their legs are injected. Here, you are asked to lie your baby down on the bed, they then call in another nurse for assistance and pretty much pin the child down to complete the task! I am not a parent who gets upset every time my child has to have injections but have to say I was quite shocked and vowed not to let them use the same approach the second time around! I wonder if they try to do it like that with the older babies and toddlers? 

At 4 months, and 6 months, I returned to have all of Ethan's subsequent immunisations and we now have a nice long break before the next set are due at the time of his first birthday. 

There do not seem to be any baby clinics here for getting your baby regularly weighed or any routine developmental checks for them (that I know of), so it is only through the visits I make to the Doctor that Ethan can be monitored. As a mum of four this does not concern me as I know what my baby should be doing and when and can quite easily weigh him on the scales at home, but it would be great if they could look to implementing a system similar to the UK. There we have drop in clinics for getting your baby weighed and having a chat with the Health Visitor about any concerns, and they deliver proper developmental checks at key times in the early years (although I have heard that not all places are offering these now).

Feel free to post comments about your personal experiences around the world. What would be the ideal balance of care? 

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Immunisation schedule for babies and children in Qatar
Anwar
2/6/2013 05:24:30 am

That's Totally Bizarre, My wife is coming down to Qatar from UK in July with our new born baby which will be 2 months and i wanna make sure if above system doesn't apply.

how do I avoid all this to our baby? I start thinking what shall I do? let my new born baby have his vaccination for 6 months then come to qatar?

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Diary of an Expat Mum
7/6/2013 03:59:28 am

Hi Anwar - Congratulations on your new baby! Personally I wouldn't delay bringing your wife and baby to Doha just because of what I have written about the immunisations as vaccinations are not nice for babies whichever way they are administered. The main thing is that the immunisation programme here is very similar to the UK and the doctors are very thorough with their baby health check beforehand (better than the checks given in the UK).

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16/6/2013 12:19:19 am

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Dave Key
17/6/2013 06:31:45 am

Hi, We moved to Qatar 3 weeks ago. We have 2 children (2 and 4 months). Our 4 month old is due his 16 week immunisations now. I was wondering if you know if this will be covered under the public health system (Hamad)? I should receive my RP this week and was planning to buy a medical card for 100QR (the jabs are not covered on our medical insurance!).

Thanks,
Dave

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Shannon
26/6/2013 06:29:53 am

Hi, I am due to have my baby in November at home. (England) but my fiancé works in Qatar October through to May, I usually attend Qatar with him but obviously this time is different. The plan is for him to come home for the birth of our child then fly back out a couple weeks later. Once my baby's passport is sorted I will be flying over straight away to join my fiancé in Qatar, around this time my baby will be 4-5 week old. I am so worried about flying over and not having the assistance and help I need. I am so glad I found this site as knowing someone out there can help me. Please could you help point me in the right direction as in where to go and what to expect, if I need any paper work etc. I would really appreciate the help as this is our first born and would feel more at ease knowing what a actions need to be taken once arrived in Qatar.

Thank you ever so much.
Shannon x

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23/12/2015 12:17:28 am

The immunisation programme in the UK commences with the first set of injections at 2 months, followed by further jabs at 3 and 4 months. As a parent you are sent a reminder when your baby is due to receive them.

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