Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) on Thursday (Feb. 18) approved the importation and use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus disease.
The authority gave clearance for the administration of the jab based on data provided by the manufacturers, but will test the vaccine once they receive the shipments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The authority uses a scientific process to approve vaccines based on safety and efficacy results of clinical studies and other data provided by manufacturers, the report added.
“We have exceeded half-a-million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the plan to expand continues to accelerate,” Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulaali said.
He added that the National Committee for Infectious Diseases has approved one dose for those who have previously been infected with the virus six months on from their recovery.
The dose, he said, is considered a booster for the natural immunity that they have formed, and the health status in Tawakkalna app will be ‘immune-recovered’.
He also stressed that vaccines are a strong weapon to combat the pandemic, and that all vaccines given in the Kingdom are safe and effective.
The kingdom launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on December 17, 2020 after receiving its first consignment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine a day before in an effort to control the outbreak.
Saudi Arabia is the second country in the Gulf Cooperation Council, after Bahrain, to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after it was approved by the SFDA.
Saudis and expats in the kingdom continue to receive their doses of coronavirus vaccines, with 501,710 doses give in the past 24 hours.
Those wishing to receive a vaccine should register through the Ministry of Health’s Sehhaty app.
Reporting by Indonesia Window