400,000 people in Saudi Arabia registered for vaccine

Saudi Arabia records 1,269 new COVID-19 cases as vaccine doses surpass 16 million

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 400,000 since the launch of the registration on Dec. 15.

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

He said that expansion of registration will begin in the western and the eastern regions. Then the rest of the regions to follow.

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 its registration in the countries of origin that manufacture these vaccines. We expect that before the end of the year and by the beginning of the first quarter of 2021; another kind of vaccine against coronavirus will be available,” he said.

Regarding the immunity of those who got the vaccine; Asiri stressed that immunity does not begin immediately after vaccination.

Electronic license

“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.