Coronavirus

Saudi health ministry allows rollout of updated COVID-19 booster shot

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Saudi Arabia’s ministry of health has allowed the rollout of the updated COVID-19 booster shot that will help strengthen immunity against the virus and its variants.

Those eligible for the booster dose should have taken the last vaccine three months ago, the ministry said, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Wednesday.

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The ministry also urged those wishing to receive the updated vaccine to apply for an appointment through the Sehhaty application.

It emphasized that the “updated COVID-19 vaccine is known as a ‘bivalent vaccination’ since it offers comprehensive protection against severe COVID-19 and the omicron variant illnesses,” SPA said.

The health ministry noted that this move aims to protect the health of the elderly eligible to receive a vaccine and to “protect them from the negative complications of a virus infection.”

The move comes amid fresh fear worldwide of an increase in cases of COVID-19 and the latest omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 – otherwise known as the Kraken variant. It also comes as China is witnessing an outbreak of the virus, despite dismantling strict containment restrictions last month.

Saudi Arabia lifted restrictions related to COVID-19 last year.

The health ministry’s move also comes as the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced this week that the Kingdom will host pre-pandemic numbers of pilgrims.

Over the past couple of years, the number of pilgrims has been restricted due to COVID-19 measures.

This year’s Hajj season will begin in June.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia to host pre-pandemic numbers for 2023 Hajj pilgrimage season

Saudi Arabia drops COVID-19 measures including indoor masks, vaccine requirement

Saudi Arabia removes barriers around Kaaba in time for Umrah season

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