The Saudi Ministry of Health has recently announced the number of the population vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines have exceeded half of the Kingdom’s population.
Saudi Arabia has administered more than 41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to date.
Until now the Saudi health authorities have provided at least one dose of vaccination to almost 70% of Saudi Arabia’s population or more than 23 million. While around 18 million or more than 50% of the population have already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Saudi Arabia is second in the world in the recovery index
This is at a time when Saudi Arabia ranked second globally, to recover from the novel coronavirus pandemic in terms of infection management, the release of vaccines and the return of activities, according to the Japanese Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index.
The Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index is based on a decrease in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase in vaccination rates and less strict social distancing measures.
This comes as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recorded an average of more than 155,000 new COVID-19 doses administered daily for citizens and residents. While the daily news coronavirus cases dropped to a new low of below 70, the country’s total infections are now standing at about 546,479 cases.
COVID-19 deaths have also reached a record low, of single digits, while the total deaths recorded in Saudi Arabia hover below 8700, since the start of the pandemic.
Reasons for the decrease in corona infections in Saudi Arabia
“The epidemiological indicators in the Kingdom continue to decline, noting that this decline is the result of the commitment to many factors, the most prominent of which is adherence to precautionary measures and wearing masks,” said the Ministry of Health spokesperson, Dr. Mohamed Al-Abdali.
He attributed the reason to the low rates of coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia to strict adherence to measures along with vaccination rates.
Al-Abdali added that the demand for the vaccine, as is the case with the recorded cases that are witnessing a decline in their registration, the critical cases follow the recorded cases in the decline, which recorded a 65% decrease in them during the past few weeks.
Amending the penalty for violating the precautionary measures
This is at a time when the Saudi authorities amended the penalty for violating the precautionary measures and preventive measures, as three violations were added to the protocols for violations of establishments, and amended the closure penalty for violating facilities, including the violation of allowing entry to the unvaccinated, and the violation of not using the assembly permit, to control the capacity of the stores Commercial or malls and commercial centres with a capacity of more than 100 people, and a violation of non-compliance with the numbers allowed within the facility.
Not only that, but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to work to confront the coronavirus pandemic in all facilities, it announced that the penalty for violating the preventive measures in performing Umrah and prayer.
This includes a fine of SAR 10,000 for those caught coming to perform Umrah without a permit, and SAR 1,000 for those trying to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca without a permit, as part of the implementation of precautionary and preventive measures to confront Covid-19 and prevent its spread and to ensure compliance with the implementation of the preventive regulation approved for performing Umrah and prayer, in line with the safe operational capacity in all sites, in the Holy Mosque and its squares.
Coronavirus vaccination dates
Moreover, the Saudi “Tawakkalna” application published new updates regarding the dates for receiving coronavirus vaccines and the possibility of cancelling or postponing the dates of vaccination.
According to the app, the date that was chosen for receiving a jab of the coronavirus vaccine can be cancelled before taking the first dose with specifying the reason, and after that, the second dose cannot be cancelled, but it can be rescheduled.
Tawakkalna app shows the health condition in several statuses, dark green for those who have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, have not been infected with the virus before and completed 14 days after taking the first dose. This will be valid for a period of 180 days from the date of taking the dose unless the doses are completed or the infection is proven.
The health status of “recovered and received a dose” is also shown in the event that the user recovers after the infection and receives the first dose, and if the two doses are received, the condition will be changed to “immune after completing the two doses.”
The application also called on everyone to adhere to the instructions issued by the competent authorities, concerning gatherings and the permissible limit of presence at the event site, and to issue permits for this through the application.
Tawakkalna app announced that the gathering permit can be used by people in the event that they have visitors for a specific occasion such as weddings, condolences and others, as it is issued through the services page in the application, by choosing to request a new permit, then choosing a gathering permit, then specifying the type of permit Governmental, commercial or personal, then fill in the required fields, then request a permit.
It explained that the maximum allowed in a personal gathering permit is 20 visitors, urging everyone to abide by the instructions of the competent authorities.
The requirements for a personal gathering permit are: writing the name of the gathering place, then specifying the number of visitors allowed to the place with a maximum of 20 visitors, then specifying the approximate radius of the place with a minimum of 200 meters, then specifying the location on the map, and then requesting a permit.
Saudi Arabia rules out third dose broad enrolment
Recently, Dr. Abdullah Al-Asiri, the assistant undersecretary at the Saudi Ministry of Health for preventive health, announced Saudi Arabia’s strategy regarding the provision of the third dose of coronavirus vaccine.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Asiri published a new tweet to him on his official account on Twitter, in which he confirmed that it is not logical for the whole of Saudi Arabia’s population to receive the third dose.
Al-Asiri stated that two doses of an anti-Coronavirus vaccine prevent severe illness, hospitalization, as well as deaths and that it is not logical for the entire Saudi community to receive a third dose of the vaccine.
The Saudi official explained that at this stage of the excellent coverage of vaccines in the Kingdom, his country needs to reconsider the reasons and method of laboratory examination of the emerging coronavirus and to evaluate the coronavirus pandemic only from the perspective of the burden of disease on society.
Earlier, Al-Abdali announced the addition of a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine for certain groups.
He said that the groups most in need of the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine are the most health need in the Kingdom, and those who have immune disorders or have undergone transplant operations.
This goes in line with Advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who voted to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness, after overwhelmingly rejecting a call for broader approval.
The panel also recommended that the FDA include healthcare workers and others at high risk of occupational exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, such as teachers.
Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the panel, said the recommendation was “a step back” from the Biden administration’s recommendation of widespread boosters starting September 20.
“That is not this. This is: ‘We’re going to test the water, one foot at a time,'” said Offit, who voted “no” on the initial question of widespread use of boosters and “yes” on the more modest offering of vaccines for those at higher risk.
By a vote of 16 to 2, members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee declined to recommend a third dose of the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine to anyone age 16 and older who received their second shot at least six months earlier.
The panellists suggested the evidence supporting broad approval was inadequate, and they wanted to see more safety data, especially concerning the risk of heart inflammation in younger people after vaccination.