Saudi Arabia will be among first countries to receive coronavirus vaccine: Cabinet

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Saudi Arabia will be among the first countries to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus, the cabinet said on Tuesday, according to state news agency SPA.

“The Kingdom will be among the first countries to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 after ensuring its effectiveness and safety,” said Acting Minister of Media Dr. Majed bin Abdullah al-Qassabi during a virtual cabinet meeting, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

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A day earlier, the Ministry of Health said the Kingdom will make coronavirus vaccines available for free for everyone living in Saudi Arabia.

"The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone in Saudi Arabia for Free... We hope to have enough vaccines to cover 70 percent of the country's population by the end of 2021," state television Al-Ekhbariya TV quoted the Ministry of Health as saying.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Mohammed Abdelali said in the daily coronavirus press conference: "Any vaccine must be safe, effective and approved by the relevant authorities."

Saudi Arabia's coronavirus vaccine stood at 355,741 confirmed cases, 344,311 recovered patients and 5,811 deaths.

The race to producing a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus has yielded several frontrunner candidates.

Pfizer and Moderna had both announced earlier this month successful COVID-19 vaccine candidates, each more than 90 percent effective.

Russia also announced on November 9 that its coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V was more than 90 percent effective.

AstraZeneca announced on Monday that its vaccine, developed by Oxford University, was 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

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