Followed by the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the US. drug firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTec, Saudi Arabia has now announced a three-phase vaccination programme and has begun registering citizens and foreign residents.
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 stage. Everyone else will be vaccinated in the third stage, said the official Saudi Press Agency citing the Health Ministry.
The dates for each phase or the duration of the vaccination campaign have not been specified yet. The ministry opened registration for the vaccination campaign through an online application called “Sehaty”, and said the vaccine would be free for all citizens and residents.
The Gulf kingdom has a population of more than 34 million. The country approved the vaccine after Bahrain in the last week.
Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 360,000 novel coronavirus cases, including more than 6,000 deaths so far, which is the highest in the Gulf. But the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate.