MoH starts nationwide flu vaccination

Updated 13 October 2015

MoH starts nationwide flu vaccination

RIYADH: The Ministry of Health (MoH) launched a nationwide vaccination campaign against seasonal flu on Sunday.

Speaking at the launch held at the MoH headquarters, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, deputy minister of public health, said the campaign has targeted at least 1.5 million people in all parts of the Kingdom.
The vaccines will be available in 275 hospitals and at 2,259 primary health care centers throughout the Kingdom. He said the vaccination will be available free-of-charge to all those who want to avail themselves of this annual service. It was revealed that the ministry is considering making the flu vaccination mandatory on all pilgrims who will be coming for Haj pilgrimage next year.
Vaccination against meningitis is compulsory on all foreign Umrah and Haj pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
General Supervisor of the National Program Dr. Musallam Abu Hassan said the ministry focuses on vaccination on the vulnerable categories of people that include pregnant women, people suffering from chronic ailments such as diabetes, cardiac, renal and hypertension patients, and children from six months to five years of age.
He also said that the flu vaccine will prevent the seasonal influenza too.
This year, he said the flu shots were already given to 90 percent of the health officials. Last year, only 20 percent was covered among the health care personnel, he added.
According to the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses – an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (quadrivalent vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”