JEDDAH: The Saudi Health Ministry has said that its vaccination campaign is key to achieving herd immunity after it revealed that more than 178,000 of the Kingdom’s residents have received a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) jab.
“We aim to provide the vaccine to all and build herd immunity in Saudi Arabia,” said Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. “We believe that this is the most powerful way to achieve herd immunity, which in return will provide optimum protection from the virus.”
As a testament to the success of precautionary measures, the number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom has steadily declined since peaking in mid-June last year.
In a press conference on Sunday, the ministry spokesman said that indicators have shown a 97.6 percent decrease in cases since the peak. “This reflects the level of control Saudi Arabia has on the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
The ministry reported 117 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic in March last year to 363,809.
The number of active cases has dropped below the 2,000 case mark, with 1,970 active cases, 309 of which are in critical care units — an 86.6 percent decrease since a peak during last summer.
Only three of the Kingdom’s 13 regions recorded case numbers in the double digits. Riyadh led with 47, while Makkah and the Eastern Province both recorded 22 cases each. Najran and Al-Jouf reported one case each.
The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the Kingdom has also fallen. With Sunday’s five fatalities, Dr. Al-Abd Al-Aly said that there has been a 91.4 percent decline since the peak mortality rate seen last summer.
There were 166 new recoveries reported, raising the total number of recoveries to 355,548. The Kingdom’s recovery rate remains steady at 97.7 percent.
The spokesman said that the recovery rate rose dramatically following the Kingdom’s battle to detect the disease early and provide patients with top healthcare.
More than 11.3 million polymerase chain reaction tests have been conducted in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic, including 28,324 completed over the past 24 hours.