COVID-19: Saudi Arabia to expand availability of 1st dose, 2nd rescheduled

Cairo: Saudi health authorities have announced expanding availability of the first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 to cover the largest possible chunk of people in the country.

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The Health Ministry also said that the second dose of vaccination for those who have already received the first will be postponed starting from Sunday (today) and that related appointments will be all rescheduled.

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The new inoculation plan is due to a shortage in global supplies of the vaccines as the manufacturers are “facing challenges” in providing the contracted quantities, the ministry added.

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“This also comes out of keenness to provide the first dose of the vaccine to the biggest number of population, especially the high-risk categories, as this will help reduce the number of severe cases and protect public health,” it said.

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Second dose

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The rescheduling, the ministry explained, is set to maximise benefits from the second dose of inoculation as the producing companies are conducting research aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of their vaccines against the mutated variants of the coronavirus.

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Saudi Arabia initiated mass vaccinations against COVID-10 on December 17. About 6.1 million doses have since been administered at 587 vaccination centres spread across the kingdom.

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Authorities have offered the vaccination to citizens and foreign residents for free.

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