JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s authorities will approve a third coronavirus vaccine only after it has passed all regulations and necessary stages in order to ensure its safety for residents, according to a Ministry of Health official.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told Sunday’s coronavirus press conference that two vaccines were available in the Kingdom, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca, and any announcement of a third would only be after it had been cleared for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
The continued rise in daily cases was worrying and authorities were monitoring the situation, he said, and whether the numbers rose or fell was a matter that remained in people’s hands.
“By adhering to safety protocols, we can ensure that the numbers are back on the safe and right track,” he added.
Al-Aly said that 60-70 percent of cases of late were mainly due to social gatherings at homes. The remaining cases could be due to lax rules in workplaces, mosques, public spaces and commercial establishments.
“We must continue down the right path to overcome this pandemic,” he warned. “There are no exceptions. Everyone, those vaccinated and those not, must adhere to precautionary measures and to the safety protocols at all times.”
For the third day in a row Saudi Arabia recorded cases above the 500 mark, reporting 531 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday. The country’s infection tally is 388,325 to date.
Riyadh recorded 221 new cases, the Eastern Province had 105 and Makkah had 99. Baha recorded the lowest count, with just two new infections.
There were 389 additional recoveries reported, raising the total number to 376,947. There are 4,728 active cases, 638 of which are in critical care units, and there were seven new COVID-19 related deaths. The death toll is 6,650.
The spokesman said the ministry was working on providing more time slots for people who had registered to receive the vaccine.
More than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people in the Kingdom within a week, raising the overall figure to 4.1 million.
The spokesman stressed the importance of taking the jab, given the rise in infections being linked to personal behavior.
Al-Aly said that, although it was rare, it was possible to catch COVID-19 after receiving the two doses.
There have been no vaccine-related deaths in Saudi Arabia.