JEDDAH: A second dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine will be available to everyone from July, Saudi TV channel Al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.
The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that a high COVID-19 immunization rate had been achieved among members of the Kingdom’s population aged 60 years and over.
Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the country’s leadership was keen to provide highly effective vaccines to tackle the virus.
Dr. Abdullah Assiri, assistant deputy minister of preventive health, said that a delay in receiving a second dose could better stimulate immunity in some vaccines.
“There is no need to worry about delaying the second dose for some groups of society for the public good, and the follow-up of immunity levels after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines shows that there is no ideal period between the two doses,” he added.
Meanwhile, all foreign travelers and those accompanying them to the Kingdom must complete registration for their COVID-19 immunization data before departure, according to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
GACA said the protocol would help ease entry procedures and reduce waiting periods. Registration will apply to all citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, holders of new visas, residents, and their companions whether vaccinated or not.
The authority noted that the move was, “in line with efforts made by the Kingdom to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of citizens and residents.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Friday reported 15 more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall toll to 7,650.
There were 1,236 new cases, meaning that 471,959 people in the country had now contracted the disease. A total of 11,050 cases remained active, of which 1,496 patients were in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 372 were in Makkah, 240 in Riyadh, 213 in the Eastern Province, and 65 in Madinah.
In addition, the ministry said 1,050 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 453,259.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 20,799,293 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 86,695 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app. Meanwhile, 16,387,147 people in the country had to date received a jab against COVID-19.