With global vaccine distribution fast approaching, the Saudi Ministry of Health plans to offer free vaccines to 70 percent of citizens and expats in the Kingdom who have not yet contracted Covid-19. Saudi Arabia hopes to meet its target numbers by the end of 2021.
“Those who have not tested positive for COVID-19 will be given priority in the vaccine campaign in the coming months,” said Dr. Abdullah Asiri, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for preventive health. According to Arab News, Dr. Asiri added that there is no need for people under 16 to receive inoculations unless research proves otherwise. The Ministry of Health will lay out a vaccination calendar in the coming weeks.
“The Kingdom worked on two paths to obtain the vaccine, through the COVAX organization, which the G20 had a role in creating and financing. Saudi Arabia will obtain a large amount of vaccines through this facility, while the second track is direct contracting with the big companies to cover the gap that cannot be covered through COVAX,” Asiri added, according to Arab News.
What is COVAX? It is a global initiative working to provide countries with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines once they are licensed and approved.
The Kingdom will only distribute COVID-19 vaccines that were effective against the virus, had no side effects, and validated with granting licenses. “Therefore, what will be released this year is not expected to be in the large quantities that would affect the pandemic’s trajectory, which isn’t expected before mid-2021,” Asiri added.