JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to have sparked a surge in the number of people registering for the coronavirus vaccine after receiving the inoculation on Friday.
About 500,000 people had registered for the vaccine by last Thursday following the Ministry of Health’s rollout of a national inoculation plan.
But after the crown prince was photographed one day later receiving the vaccine, the numbers seeking vaccination jumped fivefold in a single hour, according to Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
The vaccination rate is also believed to have surged with up to 10,000 already inoculated.
Meanwhile, the number of active coronavirus cases in the Kingdom continues to fall, with the Kingdom yet to record a single case of the COVID-19 variant.
However, Dr. Abdullah Asiri, assistant deputy minister for preventive medicine, urged caution, warning that the virus remains a real threat.
“What we know for sure is that these mutations won’t change the behavior of the virus or its ability to infect people, resulting in severe symptoms,” he said.
Asiri said that the mutation did not appear to cause more harm than other strains of the coronavirus.
“Without mutations, coronaviruses rarely infect people twice since the antibodies created by the human body are able to prevent a second infection for up to four or five months,” he said.
In Jeddah, health workers have begun receiving coronavirus vaccinations at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport South Terminal inoculation centers as the first phase of the program focuses on front-line staff.
Daily cases in the Kingdom are holding steady below the 200 mark, with 163 new cases reported on Saturday, raising the number to 362,066 since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are currently 2,886 active cases, 383 of which are in critical care.
A total of 189 new recoveries were also reported, raising the number to 353,004. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is at 97.49 percent.
Eight people died due to complications caused by COVID-19 infection, raising the total number of deaths to 6,176.