70 percent of Saudi Arabia's population to receive Covid vaccine for free

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Sarah Peddie

Around 70 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population will receive a Covid-19 vaccine free-of-charge it has been revealed.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Health outlined their hopes, and said that they are aiming to meet their target for the number of inoculations carried out by the end of 2021 - which would see more than 23m people vaccinated.

Under the plans however under-16s will not receive a jab - unless they have underlying health conditions or further research proves that there is a need. 

Currently the virus is known to have far more of a deadly impact on older people and those with underlying conditions, notable diabetes and respiratory issues.

Telling the media that a schedule for vaccinations would be outlined in the coming weeks, Abdullah Asiri, the Ministry of Health undersecretary for preventable health said: “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.

“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.”

The Ministry’s official spokesman, Muhammad Al-Abd Al-Aly, added that they would only provide a vaccine that was shown to be effective with no side-effects.

Latest statistics have shown that more than 335,000 people in the Kingdom have now tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic, with 765 patients currently in ICUs. 

The majority of new cases reported in recent days have been in and around the Riyadh district.

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