JEDDAH: More than 26 million people in Saudi Arabia have now received a coronavirus vaccine, including almost 1.5 million elderly people, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.
However, the ministry repeated its message that a second vaccine dose is necessary to achieve the highest levels of immunity, especially amid the emergence of the delta variant.
First dose ppointments are now available for those aged between 12 and 18 in all regions of the Kingdom, the ministry said.
People who have recovered from a coronavirus infection are now also able to complete two doses of the vaccine, with the possibility of receiving the first dose 10 days after the end of an infection.
The change was introduced following the release of medical studies that demonstrated the safety of the procedure.
The ministry said that the Kingdom’s nationwide vaccine rollout is moving forward as planned, and urged people to register to receive vaccines through the Sehhaty app.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported 12 more coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,212.
There were 1,289 new cases, meaning that 523,397 people in the country have now contracted the disease. A total of 11,358 cases remain active, of which 1,395 are in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 260 were in the Makkah region, 253 in the Riyadh region, 220 in the Eastern Province and 63 in the Madinah region.
In addition, the ministry said that 1,299 patients recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 503,827.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 24,800,706 PCR tests, with 117,620 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 outbreak of the pandemic.
Taakad (make sure) centers provide coronavirus testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to people with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for either service can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.