JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Health has approved two additional COVID-19 vaccines, developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna, for use in the Kingdom. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is already being used to immunize people in the country.
Ibrahim Al-Oraifi, director general of health affairs in the Eastern Province, told Al Arabiya news channel that there is global competition for available supplies of vaccines, and that the demand for the Pfizer vaccine is “great.” However he added that Saudi authorities have secured good quantities and vaccination efforts are being stepped up.
“There is an increase in the number of workers in vaccine centers in the Kingdom as they gain good experience, where the workflow became faster and larger with the expansion of the reception halls for the vaccine recipients,” he added.
A vaccination center in Al-Ahsa is ready to open, Al-Oraifi said, and just waiting for the delivery of vaccines. “We will start within a week or two,” he added. “Meanwhile work is underway to equip the Hafar Al-Batin center, which is expected to start operating next month.”
He said that about 400,000 people in the Eastern Province have registered through the ministry’s Sehhaty health services app to receive vaccinations, and about 60,000 people have already been inoculated. Nationwide, more than 2 million people registered for the vaccine in the first month after the registration process was launched.
According to statistics for the past month, the Ministry of Health is currently receiving 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week. It aims to reach at least 80 percent immunity among the population through vaccination.
Saudi authorities on Monday recorded six additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the country to 6,329. A further 170 cases of infection have been confirmed, meaning 365,099 people in the Kingdom have contracted the disease. Of these, 1,922 remain active and 317 patients are in critical condition.
The ministry said 67 of the new cases are in Riyadh, 38 in Makkah, 25 in the Eastern Province and 22 in Madinah. Another 161 patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to 356,848. The total number of PCR tests carried out in the country now stands at 11,713,996, including 45,064 in the previous 24 hours.