JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia had completed its latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program aimed at slashing the number of severe cases and virus-related deaths, the government announced on Wednesday.
Dr. Abdullah Mufarrih Assiri, assistant deputy minister for preventive health, said targets had been achieved by giving 70 percent of adults a first vaccine dose while limiting second jabs to high-risk groups.
“Now, we are entering a new stage: A second dose for everyone and continuing to provide the first dose to those who have not yet had it. This is the most successful strategy globally,” he added.
The minister noted the “pandemic equation” that showed “vaccines need time and high coverage to break the chain of infection in society.”
But Assiri warned that complacency over adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures, especially social distancing and the wearing of masks, “leads to the spread of infections among the unvaccinated, and the large number of cases results in mutants (COVID-19 variants) that affect the vaccinated as well.”
The Kingdom on Wednesday reported 14 more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall toll to 8,020.
There were 1,226 new cases, meaning that 504,960 people in the country had now contracted the disease. A total of 10,929 cases remained active, of which 1,430 patients were in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 334 were in Riyadh, 260 in Makkah, 158 in the Eastern Province, and 56 in Madinah.
In addition, the Saudi Ministry of Health said that 1,128 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 486,011.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 23,314,798 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 104,307 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.
Meanwhile, 20,809,153 people in the country had to date received a jab against COVID-19, 1,407,542 of them elderly.