Saudi health minister: COVID-19 vaccines will be available at pharmacies for free

A Saudi citizen prepares to receive the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Riyadh on Dec. 17, 2020. (AFP)
A Saudi citizen prepares to receive the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Riyadh on Dec. 17, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi health minister: COVID-19 vaccines will be available at pharmacies for free

Saudi health minister: COVID-19 vaccines will be available at pharmacies for free
  • Part of efforts to expand the ongoing inoculation campaign

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will provide coronavirus vaccines at pharmacies across the kingdom for free, the country’s Minister of Health Dr. Tawfik Al-Rabiah told Al Arabiya.

This comes as part of efforts to expand the ongoing inoculation campaign and facilitate access to vaccine sites, he added.

More than 100 vaccination facilities have opened around the country since Saudi Arabia began its nationwide vaccination campaign on December 17.

Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Authority is currently evaluating a number of COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to expand the vaccination process in various regions of the Kingdom, which are taking place at a high rate.

The Ministry of Health indicated that the vaccines currently approved in Saudi Arabia or those currently being evaluated are approved for use starting from the age of 16 or 18 years.

Saudi Arabia has announced on Tuesday plans to expand vaccination centers across the Kingdom, health spokesman Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

However, pregnant women and children will still not be permitted to receive the coronavirus vaccine as further studies have not been completed yet, Al-Aly added.

The Minister of Health also announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be a pre-requisite for health workers participating in the Hajj season 2021.

“A vaccination committee must be formed for the Hajj and Umrah season, on which they have adopted the compulsory reception of the COVID-19 vaccine for participating healthcare workers,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has recently launched drive-through vaccine centers in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah and Abha. Individuals wishing to receive the jab must first register through the official Sehatty app.

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Tunisian Minister of Defense receives the Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia

Tunisian Minister of Defense receives the Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia
Updated 25 min 46 sec ago

Tunisian Minister of Defense receives the Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia

Tunisian Minister of Defense receives the Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia

TUNIS: The Tunisian Minister of Defense Ibrahim Bartagi met today Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al-Saqr, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Tunisia, accompanied with General Mohammed bin Turki Al-Subaie, Saudi Arabia’s military attache in Tunisia.

The Tunisian Minister of Defense expressed his country’s desire to elevate the level of joint cooperation between the two brotherly countries at all military levels related to formation and training, praising the high level of the military schools and academies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He also praised the good relations between Tunisia and the Kingdom, and their continuous progress and improvement.

For his part, Ambassador Al-Saqr praised the keenness of Tunisia to open new channels of cooperation with the Kingdom, assuring the keenness and aim of the Kingdom to strengthen cooperation with all friendly and brotherly countries.


Who’s Who: Deemah Al-Yahya, secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization

Who’s Who: Deemah Al-Yahya, secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization
Updated 28 min 28 sec ago

Who’s Who: Deemah Al-Yahya, secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization

Who’s Who: Deemah Al-Yahya, secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization

Deemah Al-Yahya was recently appointed as the first secretary-general of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).
The international body, founded by Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, aims to achieve prosperity, social stability, and growth of the digital economy by unifying efforts to advance digital transformation.
Al-Yahya is the founder and chief executive officer of ALMTD Consulting, a specialized company offering advisory services on digital innovation strategies, corporate venture building, and large-scale conceptualization.
She is also CEO and founder of Women Spark, the first Saudi women’s angel investment network, which has trained more than 26,000 women in the technology industry since its inception in 2013.
Al-Yahya has worked in the private and public sectors, advising, designing, and orchestrating key strategic programs and initiatives, including as head of Misk Innovation, CEO of the National Digital Transformation Unit, chief innovation evangelist of Microsoft, and director of e-services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She has served on a number of boards, including the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones, the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council for digital economy and society, the Global Entrepreneurship Network, among others.
Al-Yahya completed two executive education programs on innovation culture and strategy at Harvard Business School, along with two executive education programs on digital transformation, business development, and financial acumen at INSEAD. She gained a bachelor’s degree in computer science and information systems from King Saud University.


Saudi Border Guards rescue 6 after boat breaks down near Jeddah

Saudi Border Guards rescue 6 after boat breaks down near Jeddah
Updated 34 min 50 sec ago

Saudi Border Guards rescue 6 after boat breaks down near Jeddah

Saudi Border Guards rescue 6 after boat breaks down near Jeddah
  • All crew members were rescued and are in ‘good health’

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities rescued six people after their boat malfunctioned at sea off the coast of Jeddah.
“Maritime patrols in the Obhur and Khaleej Salman (Salman Bay) centers in Jeddah received a call on the emergency number saying that a boat had malfunctioned at sea, with six citizens onboard,” said Lt. Col. Faris bin Musfer Al-Maliki, media spokesman for the Border Guards in Makkah.

He said all crew members were rescued and are in “good health,” adding that they helped them tow their boat back to the marina.
Al-Maliki called on all boat owners to take care and caution, perform regular maintenance on their vessels, and equip them with maritime safety, navigation, and communication devices.
He also said that anyone requiring assistance should call the border guard emergency number (994).


Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Tuesday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Tuesday
Updated 57 min 50 sec ago

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Tuesday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Tuesday
  • Civil defense warns of thunderstorms and risk of flooding in some areas

RIYADH: Weather warnings have been issued for several regions across Saudi Arabia from Friday until Tuesday, the Kingdom’s civil defense said on Thursday.
The authority warned of thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain and brisk winds in the Asir, Al-Baha, Jazan, Najran, Makkah, and Madinah from Friday to Tuesday. From Friday to Sunday, the regions of Jawf, Tabuk, and the Northern Borders Province will be affected by light to moderate rain.
It also warned that the capital Riyadh, Qassim, the Eastern Province, and Hail will experience moderate to heavy rain that may lead to torrential flows and flooding.
The warnings were issued based on data received from the National Center of Meteorology.
The civil defense called on everyone to be wary of the severe conditions, to stay away from places that could flood, and to abide by the civil defense’s instructions and updates announced through media and social media outlets.


Houthi militia behind Yemen humanitarian situation, KSrelief chief tells US-Arab meeting

Houthi militia behind Yemen humanitarian situation, KSrelief chief tells US-Arab meeting
Updated 22 April 2021

Houthi militia behind Yemen humanitarian situation, KSrelief chief tells US-Arab meeting

Houthi militia behind Yemen humanitarian situation, KSrelief chief tells US-Arab meeting
  • KSrelief has implemented 590 projects in Yemen totaling over $3.533 billion
  • Houthi militia have committed humanitarian violations and stolen aid, depriving Yemenis of basic needs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is the largest supporter of humanitarian work in Yemen, with aid exceeding $17.3 billion, the head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) said Thursday.
About $3.5 billion of that aid has been provided through KSrelief, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah told a meeting organized by the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) on the humanitarian challenges in Yemen.
Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom is also one of the biggest aid donors around the world. The center has implemented 1,556 humanitarian projects in 59 countries with a value exceeding $5 billion, of which 590 projects were done in Yemen.
Aside from the political, economic, and health repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the Yemeni people are also facing a difficult humanitarian situation caused by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.
“It sought to plunder and rob the humanitarian aid it receives from donor countries and divert it for the benefit of its military activities, depriving (Yemenis) of their most basic rights to lead a decent human life,” Al-Rabeeah added.
He outlined the Houthi’s humanitarian violations in Yemen, including using anti-aircraft weapons and planting mines in densely populated areas, forced recruitment of children, seizing aid ships and humanitarian convoys, and intimidating humanitarian workers, as well as bombing hospitals, schools, refugee camps and other civilian facilities resulting in civilian deaths, injuries and heavy losses.
Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom is working to overcome these challenges and the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM) has extracted more than 230,000 mines, in addition to the rehabilitation program for children who were recruited by the Houthi militia and forced to fight in the conflict. 
Al-Rabeeah called on UN organizations to stand up to these violations, and said the Kingdom is keen to end the crisis and supports all peace initiatives put forward by the UN envoy to Yemen.
Dr. John Anthony, CEO of NCUSAR, said the aid provided by Saudi Arabia to Yemen is the largest compared to the aid of other countries combined, and included roads, hospitals, schools, mosques, and education and training centers.