The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has approved two more Covid vaccines of AstraZeneca and Moderna in Saudi Arabia, informed Ibrahim Al-Oraifi, the director-general of the Eastern Province Health Department.
As Saudi Arabia distributed Pfizer vaccine initially, the kingdom will be amongst the few countries that use vaccines from three major global pharmaceutical companies. Earlier, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had announced the rescheduling of Pfizer vaccine administration as the pharmaceutical company is unable to get adequate amounts of vaccine. The production had slowed down and delayed supply to all countries as the pharmaceutical company's manufacturing unit underwent urgent expansion.
As part of the launch of the three-phase National Vaccination Campaign, the Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah received the first vaccine on December 17th. The state-run news agency SPA reported that the Saudi King Salman also received the covid jab as part of the inoculation programme.
Vaccines will be administered free of cost to people aged over 65, and those with chronic ailments or health risks and aged over 50 in the first two phases while others would receive it in the third phase. The second dose should be administered after 21 days of receiving the first dose.
Al-Oraifi said that about 400,000 people in the Eastern Province have registered to receive vaccinations while about 60,000 people have already been vaccinated. More than 2 million people registered for the vaccine in the first month after the registration process was launched in the kingdom. Both natives and foreigners are advised to register through the ministry's Sehhaty health services app.