Saudi Arabia approves COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

Saudi Arabia approves COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11
Epidemiologists in the Kingdom told Arab News that global studies had not detected any severe or unexpected complications resulting from vaccination in the 5-11 age group. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 November 2021

Saudi Arabia approves COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

Saudi Arabia approves COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11
  • Experts say inoculating children will make it safer for them to return to school and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to their families

MAKKAH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority on Wednesday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Many countries have already approved the use of vaccines for children ages 12 and over. In some, attention is now turning to expanding vaccination eligibility to include younger children, following research into their safety and benefits. Some countries already offer vaccinations for this age group, and Saudi children are set to be next.
Last week the Saudi Ministry of Health sent a survey to parents asking for their views on the vaccination of younger children. The SFDA’s decision to approve the vaccine for younger children was based on data provided by the company demonstrating that it meets special regulatory requirements.
Epidemiologists in the Kingdom told Arab News that global studies had not detected any severe or unexpected complications resulting from vaccination in the 5-11 age group, suggesting that vaccines offer a safe and effective way for children to return to school and resume normal, everyday life, and to reduce the risk of them spreading the disease to their families.

HIGHLIGHT

Epidemiologists in the Kingdom told Arab News that global studies had not detected any severe or unexpected complications resulting from vaccination in the 5-11 age group, suggesting that vaccines offer a safe and effective way for children to return to school and resume normal, everyday life, and to reduce the risk of them spreading the disease to their families.

Two weeks ago, citing safety reasons, the Saudi Ministry of Education announced that children under the age of 12 would not be returning to in-person classes.
“We want to emphasize that millions around the world have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Nezar Bahabri, the head of the Saudi Society for Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Jeddah.
“Studies have shown that hundreds of thousands of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have received the COVID-19 vaccine without showing any complications.
“They received the vaccine before getting permission from the international, accredited medical agencies where elite doctors, with broad experiences in dealing with epidemics and their symptoms and childhood vaccinations, work.”
He stressed that specialist doctors in Saudi Arabia examine all the scientific and experimental evidence before reaching their conclusions.
“Children … need to return to schools,” Bahabri said. “They tend to spontaneously mingle and play together. If one student gets infected with the virus, they can easily transfer it to the rest of a class and from there to entire families, including the elderly, and communities. This means we have to pay the utmost attention to this (younger) age group.”
He added that although the risk posed by COVID-19 to children and adolescents is relatively low, compared with other age groups, vaccination is still important to protect them from emerging variants and because it has been proven to reduce this risk of spreading the disease.
“We are all afraid if one of our children gets sick, even for a day, what if this sickness is due to a new variant of the virus that can cause significant damage?” Bahabri said. “Recent studies have shown the safety of the vaccination and its efficacy in alleviating infections in children of this age group.”
Dr. Wael Ali Bajhamoom, an infectious diseases consultant and head of the internal medicine department at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, said the Kingdom has made great progress in the battle against the coronavirus thanks to the efforts of the government, in particular the Ministry of Health, with the support and commitment of the community.
“One of the most important things that made a significant change, and constituted the first step in ending a long pandemic, was the availability of an effective vaccine that would end the long struggle,” he told Arab News.
“Another step that has played an active and important role in reaching this stage is launching an inoculation campaign for kids aged over the age of 12,” he added, stressing that the results have
been impressive.
“Any vaccine or treatment that will be adopted in the Kingdom will go through various stages of research and scientific clinical studies before being approved.”
More than 46 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination

Saudi deputy defense minister, US central command chief discuss defense coordination
  • Prince Khalid visited the Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as part of the official visit to the US of his delegation, which began last Tuesday

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister, on Monday met the commander of the US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, to discuss developments in the Middle East.

“We discussed our joint defense coordination, addressing regional challenges, and stressed the need to work together on preserving regional and global stability,” Prince Khalid said on Twitter.

Prince Khalid visited the Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as part of the official visit to the US of his delegation, which began last Tuesday.

The CentCom’s area of responsibility covers the Middle East, including Egypt in Africa, and Central Asia and parts of South Asia.

On Sunday, Prince Khalid met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington during which they affirmed their countries’ common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region.

They also discussed the latest developments in Yemen, with Prince Khalid reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s aspirations for the Yemenis “to reach a comprehensive political solution that would move Yemen to peace and development.”

He said the UN and world organizations need “to put pressure on Houthi militias to open Taiz roads, deposit the revenues of Hodeidah port and engage seriously in peace efforts to move Yemen to security, stability, construction and prosperity.”
 


Saudi leaders congratulate new Australian PM on being sworn in

Saudi leaders congratulate new Australian PM on being sworn in
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi leaders congratulate new Australian PM on being sworn in

Saudi leaders congratulate new Australian PM on being sworn in
  • Australia’s new prime minister was sworn in Monday and flew to Tokyo for a summit with US President Joe Biden

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman congratulated Anthony Albanese on his being sworn in as the new prime minister of Australia, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Tuesday.

In a cable, the king wished the prime minister success and the Australian people further progress and prosperity.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to Albanese.

Australia’s new prime minister was sworn in Monday and flew to Tokyo for a summit with US President Joe Biden while vote counting continued to determine whether he will control a majority in a Parliament that is demanding tougher action on climate change.

“I want to lead a government that has the same sentiment of optimism and hope that I think defines the Australian people,” Albanese said in his hometown of Sydney before flying to the national capital Canberra to be sworn in.

Albanese and Malaysian-born Penny Wong, Australia’s first foreign minister to be born overseas, were sworn into office by Governor-General David Hurley before the pair flew to Tokyo for a security summit on Tuesday with Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We will return (from Japan) on Wednesday and set about implementing our agenda, our agenda that received the endorsement of the Australian people,” Albanese said, highlighting items such as climate change, affordable child care and strengthening Medicare.

(With AP)


Who’s Who: Turki Al-Thonayan, CEO of the National Security Services Co.

Turki Al-Thonayan
Turki Al-Thonayan
Updated 23 May 2022

Who’s Who: Turki Al-Thonayan, CEO of the National Security Services Co.

Turki Al-Thonayan

Turki Matooq Al-Thonayan was appointed CEO of the National Security Services Co., or SAFE, which is owned by the Public Investment Fund.

Al-Thonayan has more than 25 years of extensive security experience, starting in 1996 with Saudi Aramco, where he eventually became manager of its northern area industrial security operations in 2018.

He later worked at BATIC, overseeing investment and logistics, held the position of CEO at AMNCO, and was appointed to the board of directors of AMNCO Facilities Management.

Prior to AMNCO, Al-Thonayan also served as a part-time board member of Smart Cities Solutions Co.

Al-Thonayan began his extensive career as a part-time lecturer at the Arab Open University. He then ventured to Saudi Aramco where he climbed the executive ladder, starting as a system analyst for the computer security administration.

He then dedicated over 16 years to the company to reach the position of offshore security operations superintendent.

Al-Thonayan’s security experience is diversified across corporate security services, computer security administration, residential area security operations, industrial and maritime infrastructure facilities protection, and security support system and identification systems.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in information and computer science, and later a master’s in the same field, both from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He has been certified as a port security officer, information systems risk analyst, ethical hacker, fraud examiner, hacking forensic investigator and an SAP consultant, in addition to his membership of many international organizations related to security.

With SAFE, Al-Thonayan is working to uplift the security services industry, maximize integration among security elements, support national security initiatives, offer best-in-class security solutions and combine world-class technology with the expertise of well-trained and distinguished security personnel.


Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to OIC

Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to the OIC. (Supplied)
Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to the OIC. (Supplied)
Updated 23 May 2022

Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to OIC

Saudi minister receives Swedish special envoy to the OIC. (Supplied)
  • The meeting was attended by the counterterrorism coordinator at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Erika Ferrer, the Swedish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Niclas Trouvé and an accompanying delegation

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh received in Riyadh Ambassador Ulrika Sandberg, special envoy of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Organization of the Islamic Conference for interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

The meeting was attended by the counter-terrorism coordinator at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Erika Ferrer, the Swedish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Niclas Trouvé and an accompanying delegation.

Al-Asheikh said the Kingdom endeavors to spread the principles of moderation, rejecting extremism and respect for all human beings, as stipulated in the Holy Quran and the way of the Prophet.  

Sandberg called for further cooperation in the fight against terrorism and spreading tolerance and dialogue among followers of religions.


Saudi aid agency signs medical campaign agreement

The agreement was signed by Aqeel Al-Ghamdi and Adel bin Abdulaziz Al-Rushood in Riyadh. (SPA)
The agreement was signed by Aqeel Al-Ghamdi and Adel bin Abdulaziz Al-Rushood in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi aid agency signs medical campaign agreement

The agreement was signed by Aqeel Al-Ghamdi and Adel bin Abdulaziz Al-Rushood in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • Around 9,600 surgeries for phacoemulsification and minor procedures will be carried out during the campaigns and 24,000 pairs of glasses and medical drops will be distributed, helping 120,000 people

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center on Sunday signed a joint agreement with Al-Basar International Foundation to carry out medical campaigns in eight countries to combat blindness and its causes, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The agreement was signed by Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, the center's assistant supervisor-general director for planning and development, and Adel bin Abdulaziz Al-Rushood, the foundation’s secretary-general, in Riyadh.

Al-Ghamdi said the agreement stipulated the implementation of 24 medical projects, with the participation of Saudi volunteers and doctors in Cameroon, Niger, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, and Morocco.

Around 9,600 surgeries for phacoemulsification and minor procedures will be carried out during the campaigns and 24,000 pairs of glasses and medical drops will be distributed, helping 120,000 people.

The center has carried out 132 campaigns in 16 countries to combat blindness and the diseases that cause it, helping 421,806 people over the past three years.