The coronavirus vaccination drive has commenced in Saudi Arabia’s Makkah starting today after BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine arrived in the kingdom on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health launched the programme in Umm Al-Qura University Vaccination Centre located in Al-Abdiyah of Makkah following the health affairs’ spokesperson delivering the announcement on Tuesday.
Saudi Gazette reported Hamad Al-Otaibi, the spokesman of HA in Makkah, saying that the drive has begun, which will continue gradually at the Umm Al-Qura University as it is the prime vaccination centre in the city. Soon, 5 more vaccination centres are expected to be set up- one each in King Abdullah Medical City, Al Sharaie, Al-Awali, Al-Takhassusi, and Al-Maabdah areas- 4 primary healthcare centres.
Mr. Otaibi added that all those who registered themselves in the ‘Sehaty’ app will be administered with the vaccine, the operation of which will commence in the evening for this week. Morning and evening sessions of vaccinations will begin from the next week, he said.
“Those who wish to receive coronavirus vaccine must register for appointments available through the ministry’s Sehhaty application,” the spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, the Director General of Health Affairs in Makkah, Dr. Wael Mutair, examined the blueprint of the plan and facilities available at the Umm Al-Qura University’s vaccination centre to ensure proper provisions are in place.
General Supervisor of the Institutional Communication Department at Umm Al-Qura University Dr. Fuad Buqas and General Supervisor of the Safety Department at Umm Al-Qura University Muhammad Zamzami were present with Dr. Mutair for the inspection.
Saudi Arabia began its vaccination programme on December 17th, 2020 with its first centre in capital, Riyadh.The Makkah centre is the 5th vaccination centre in the country. This was opened later along with others in Dammam, Madinah and Jeddah.
With the Pfizer vaccine entering the kingdom after the approval of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, it is expected to inoculate 150,000 people who have already signed up on the ‘Sehaty’ app.
After Bahrain, Saudi became the next nation that is a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council to give green signal to the Pfizer vaccine.
Showing the seal of safety, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the Health Minister, was one of the first people to be vaccinated as a means to encourage public to avail the vaccine.
“Today is the beginning of the end of this crisis. There are over 550 clinics in the center to ensure that there is a sufficient quantity of clinics to give the largest possible number of vaccinations. We will have coronavirus vaccination centers in all regions of Saudi Arabia,” he told reporters.
Saudi expats and other elderly people expressed their joy on being able to receive the vaccine.