5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved

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Updated 14 October 2020

5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved

  • Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported 21 new coronavirus-related deaths

JEDDAH: Around 5,000 people from Saudi Arabia will undergo vaccine trials once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the country’s Food and Drug Authority, an infectious disease specialist in the Kingdom said.

“We will see results according to usage,” Dr. Wael Bajahmoom told Al-Ekhbariya in an interview. “In Saudi Arabia, we are part of the World Health Organization and we will use the vaccine that the country is looking for after the authorization of the Food and Drug Authority. Once approved by the Food and Drug Authority, approximately 5,000 from the Saudi community will be supervised for this vaccine trial.” 

He discussed the decision of pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company to pause its trial of a combination antibody treatment for safety reasons, saying there were many factors to consider such as what it took to create a vaccine, was the dosage to temporarily slow down the rate of infection or were there certain goals to be met. 

Bajahmoom also said that vaccines went through rigorous testing before they were released.

“In the medical field, we always stress that vaccines must be completely safe to use. To not cause any side effects or harm to users, and to protect people from the pandemic for a long time. What’s the use of creating a vaccine that will only protect us for a month or three? Another factor is that vaccines must be effective for special cases too - the elderly, those with immune system disorders - it must be effective. Most countries do not release vaccines early. They first must pass rigorous clinical testing.”

There were three important stages. The development stage was when scientists discussed the possibility of using the virus in the method of killing it, and using it in genetic modification or for patients in general.

Some of it was tested on animals in laboratories and specialists saw if the results were effective on animals or not. 

“And in the final stage it is tested on humans in a limited way then, later, on a larger scale. Since the start of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health never allowed the use of any vaccine unless it has been tested and approved (safely) globally. This indicates that safety is first in the Kingdom.”

He explained there were some measures that countries used and adopted, such as emergency recognition of a vaccine. “This has been done in some neighboring countries. Vaccines are used under an emergency permit.”

Bajahmoom highlighted Saudi Arabia’s proactive role in finding a vaccine. “Research centers in the Kingdom are excellent and are a prime example for all developed countries internationally and medically.”

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported 21 new coronavirus-related deaths. The death toll now stands at 5,108.

There were 501 new cases, meaning 340,590 people have now contracted the disease. There are 8,662 active cases, and 830 of these are in a critical condition.

There have been 481 recoveries, taking the total number to 326,820.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 7.16 million PCR tests, with 51,849 carried out in the last 24 hours.

Saudi health minister promises to procure tested vaccine

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (AP)
Updated 20 October 2020

Saudi health minister promises to procure tested vaccine

  • COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Monday said the Kingdom will procure vaccine for the novel coronavirus once it is confirmed to be safe and effective.

He said research on the vaccine is underway in a number of countries and the Saudi health authorities are following the developments.
The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to decline in the Kingdom with the recovery rate from the illness rising to 96 percent. The minister attributed the decline on the “commitment to health precautions.”
“I also thank my fellow health practitioners for their wonderful efforts,” Al-Rabiah said.
Commenting on the second and stronger wave of COVID-19 in some countries, he said it was due to a lack of “commitment to social distancing” and failure to wear masks and taking other precautions.
He ruled out any leniency on part of the government in its fight against the virus. The minister said it is necessary to abide by precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.


• Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday.

• With 16 new fatalities, the virus-related death toll has risen to 5,201.

“We (all) are in one boat, and the failure of some affects everyone, so we must work together” to check the spread of the virus.
He also advised people who show COVID-19 symptoms to visit Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
“Appointments can be made through the ministry’s Sehaty app, and anyone who has any questions or wants to consult a doctor can call 937,” the minister said.
Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday. The total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 348,583 since the beginning of the outbreak in the Kingdom.
The Health Ministry said 16 more people died due to complications caused by the virus raising the death toll to 5,201. The ministry also reported 357 new recoveries. The total number of recovered cases has now increased to 328,895.