COVID-19: Nearly 70% of inmates vaccinated in Saudi Arabia

Cairo: 68 per cent of prisoners in Saudi Arabia have received the vaccine against COVID-19, according to a media report.

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The vaccinated inmates are kept in the five prisons run by the State Security Service in the kingdom, Al Arabiya reported.

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“There is a list of names of other inmates wishing to get vaccinated. They will get the jabs according to a timetable,” the report quoted an unidentified source as saying.

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The inoculation campaign in the prisons is not mandatory, but inmates are made aware of its importance. “They follow up health developments on TV. It is up to them to make a decision. Whoever wants to get the vaccine will receive it. He who doesn’t will not be obliged,” the source added.

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“As an administrative measure, the one who does not want to be vaccinated, signs a statement that he refuses to get the jab and that is his decision.”

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Second wave

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According to the report, initially prisoners were hesitant to receive the vaccine. “But following the second wave of the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia and the big campaign launched by the Health Ministry, inmates were encouraged, resulting in an increase in the number of those interested in getting the vaccine,” the source said without giving figures.

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Saudi Arabia initiated mass vaccinations against COVID-19 on December 17. Authorities have offered the vaccination to citizens and foreign residents for free.

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Around 7.8 million doses have since been administered at 587 vaccination centres spread across the kingdom, according to the latest estimates.

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