The ministry said that supply of the vaccine is free of charge for all citizens and expatriates, in implementation of the directives of the Kingdom's wise leadership, the Saudi Gazette reported.
The ministry has confirmed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine after effective passage of the vaccine testing phases, and the successful tests showed its strong immune response and antibodies in those who received trial shots.
The ministry explained that the vaccination will be administered over three phases and that each phase has targeted groups. The first phase will cover citizens and expatriates over the age of 65 years; health and other professionals who are most vulnerable to infection during their fight with the pandemic; people who are obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40.
It would also include those who have immunodeficiency, such as those who underwent organ transplantation or taking immunosuppressive drugs; those who suffer from two or more of the following chronic diseases: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and those with a history of previous stroke.
The target group in the second phase include citizens and expatriates who are over the age of 50; the remaining health practitioners, and those who have one of the following chronic diseases: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart diseases including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and active cancer and those who have obesity and have BMI between 30 and 40.
The targetted group in the third phase includes all citizens and expatriates who wish to receive the vaccine.
The Ministry of Health pointed out that this step comes as a continuation of the great efforts and proactive steps that the Kingdom has taken since the outbreak of the pandemic, and it had a vivid role in stemming the spread of the pandemic and safeguarding the health and safety of citizens and expatriates.
The ministry drew attention to the Kingdom's previous announcement that it will be one of the first countries to receive vaccines that meet the criteria for efficacy and safety directly from the leading international companies involved in the vaccine industry and through the COVAX, which is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers.
There are 172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines engaged in Covid-19 vaccine Global Access Facility.
(Based on IANS feed with minor edits)