3,47,000 people registered for vaccine in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Health has stated that the total number of people who have registered via “Sehaty” (My Health) application to take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reached 3,47,000 since the launch of the registration on December 15.

Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Preventive Health Abdullah Asiri announced that the number of registration from various regions of the country is on a steady increase and will reach the maximum capacity within a few days, the Saudi Gazette reported.

He said that expansion of registration will begin in the western and the eastern regions, and then these will be followed by the rest of the regions.

Speaking to Al-Arabiya TV on Saturday at the Vaccination Center in Riyadh, Asiri said that the transition from vaccination of the first higher risk category to the second category of people who want to get vaccinated depends on the numbers of those registered. Those who have already registered belonged to high-risk groups.

On a question about the quantities of the vaccine that reached the Kingdom, he said that there are specific supply schedules. “We expect that the vaccination period for the first high-risk category will take from one to two months, and after its completion we will start vaccinating the other groups.”

On the possibility of giving approval for vaccines other than the Pfizer-BioNTech during the coming period, the ministry official confirmed that there are a number of vaccines under study at present from the part of the scientific committees, as well as from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

“We are waiting for it to be registered in the countries of origin where these vaccines are being manufactured, and we expect that before the end of the year and by the beginning of the first quarter of 2021 there will be another vaccine against coronavirus,” he said.

Regarding the immunity of those who were given the vaccine, Asiri stressed that immunity does not begin immediately after vaccination.

“A vaccinated person needs 12-14 days after the second dose of the vaccine in order to have full immunity. The issuance of an electronic license or certificate for those who are vaccinated is linked to getting the second dose so that the person gets the highest possible level of immunity from the vaccination,” he noted.

Regarding restrictions, Asiri said: “We need more data from field studies to know when we can specifically say that the restrictions have been eased.

“Generally, in the case of such pandemics there must be a high level of herd immunity by immunizing at least 70-80 percent of people whether with the vaccine, or with a previous infection. If we reach this stage, then we can say that the pandemic has ended and thus all restrictions can be removed,” he added.

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