More than 150,000 people have signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia since the Ministry of Health opened registration on Tuesday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
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The ministry also urged individuals to sign up promptly to stay safe and healthy and be protected against the virus and infection. Authorities will begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in the next three days, Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah said.
On Tuesday, the Kingdom announced that the vaccine will be available for free for citizens and residents who sign up via the Sehhaty application.
Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Authority last week announced that the Kingdom had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in the country.
In early December, a health ministry spokesman said that Saudi Arabia will be one of the first countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, after successful tests showed it provided a strong immune response and antibodies in trial participants, according to SPA.
The vaccination will be administered over three stages. The first will prioritize citizens and residents over the age of 65, as well as those on the front lines battling the pandemic and people with certain preexisting health conditions.
Individuals who are obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40, those who are immunocompromised, and any individual with two or more preexisting conditions such as diabetes or asthma will also be vaccinated in the first stage.
Other preexisting conditions that fall under the first stage include the following: chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease, including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in addition to individuals with a history of a stroke.
The second stage will target individuals over the age of 50, as well as the remainder of health practitioners. People with a BMI between 30 and 40 may receive the vaccination during the second stage of the rollout.
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Other individuals that suffer from any of the following chronic disease will also be vaccinated in the second stage: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart diseases including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and active cancer.
The third stage will include any remaining citizens or residents who wish to be vaccinated.