JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday approved two further COVID-19 vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm. There are currently four vaccines approved for use in the Kingdom: Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna.
The Ministry of Health said it was possible for those who had completed their vaccination program with Sinopharm or Sinovac to be accepted in the Kingdom, provided they had received a booster shot of a vaccine that was approved in the country.
It previously said that two doses of two different vaccines could be taken, according to international scientific studies that showed the safety and effectiveness of this approach in addressing the virus.
It added that, according to current recommendations, the second dose could be taken at least three weeks after the first.
People recovering from COVID-19 should receive two doses of the vaccine, the first being at least 10 days after infection with the second administered at least three weeks after.
If the infection occurred after receiving the first dose, the second dose could be administered at least 10 days after infection.
The ministry reported 353 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the overall total to 542,707.
There are 4,377 active cases, of which 1,108 are critical.
Of the newly recorded cases, 72 were in Riyadh, 66 were in Makkah, 41 were in the Eastern Province, and 26 were in Madinah.
There were seven further coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the toll to 8,497.
The ministry said 456 patients had recovered from COVID-19, increasing the total number of recoveries to 529,833. Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 27 million PCR tests, with 68,962 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for people who show no or only mild symptoms or those who believe they have come into contact with an infected individual.
Tetamman 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 through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
There are 34,686,940 people who have been jabbed so far, including 1,573,907 who are elderly. The ministry announced that more than 13 million people have been fully vaccinated.
About 62.05 percent of the population has had one dose, while 37.70 percent has had both.
At this rate, 70 percent of the population is expected to have had both doses by Oct. 9.