Watch: Saudi Covid-19 vaccination drive begins, health minister takes jab

Dubai - More than 150,000 people have signed up to receive the coronavirus vaccine

By Web Report

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Published: Thu 17 Dec 2020, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Dec 2020, 1:54 PM

The first Saudi citizens received the coronavirus vaccine on Thursday morning, leading them was Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, who also received the coronavirus vaccine, according to a tweet by the Ministry of Health.

“Today is the beginning of the end of the crisis,” said Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health, announcing the start of the largest vaccination process in the Kingdom.


Citizens and residents of the Kingdom will be administered the coronavirus vaccine free of charge in the country, according to an Al Arabiya report.

The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines reached Saudi Arabia on Wednesday morning and the distribution process would be conducted over the three days, the health minister informed earlier.


People aged over 65 as well as those with chronic ailments or at a high risk of infection will receive the vaccine in the first stage, and those aged over 50 in the second, the health ministry said this week.

Everyone else will be vaccinated in the third stage, the ministry said, without specifying the dates for each phase or how long the mass campaign would take.

The Gulf kingdom has a population of more than 34 million, according to official figures.

More than 100,000 people have registered so far through an online application called “Sehaty”, the ministry said, adding that the vaccine would be “free for all citizens and residents”.

Last week, the kingdom approved the use of the vaccine developed by US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, becoming the second Gulf country to do so after Bahrain.

Britain, Canada and the United States have also approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and have already launched mass inoculation campaigns. Neighbouring Jordan green-lighted the drug on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 360,000 novel coronavirus cases, including more than 6,000 deaths — the highest among the Gulf Arab states. But the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate.

The start of the first vaccination programmes comes with several European countries announcing new lockdowns amid spiralling infections, highlighting the long road to ending the pandemic which has killed more than 1.6 million people worldwide.

 

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah taking the Covid-19 vaccine. Photos: Reuters
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah taking the Covid-19 vaccine. Photos: Reuters
A Saudi woman gestures after she receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
A Saudi woman gestures after she receiving the coronavirus vaccine.


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