Published: 2020-12-17 10:13
Last Updated: 2023-03-28 09:18
Saudi Arabia began a nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign Thursday, with Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah becoming the first person vaccinated in the Kingdom.
Upon arrival of the first batch of Pfizer vaccines, Rabiah said "I am pleased to share the good news with everyone, citizens and residents, which is the arrival of the first batch of the vaccine. I hope it will be the beginning of relief from the crisis."
"This is the beginning of the end of the crisis," Rabiah told reporters.
Citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia were able to register for vaccination, which will be free, through the Ministry of Health's "Sahety" online platform. Priority will be given to citizens and residents over 65, as well as those in professions with direct exposure to the virus, followed by people over 50 years old.
Everyone else will be vaccinated in the third stage, the ministry said, without specifying the dates for each phase or how long the mass campaign would take.
The kingdom has a population of more than 34 million, according to official figures, and more than 100,000 people have registered so far through the e-platform.
Last week, the kingdom approved the use of the vaccine developed by US pharma company Pfizer and German BioNTech, becoming the second Gulf country after Bahrain to approve the vaccine.
Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 360,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 6,000 deaths, making it the highest among the Gulf states. However, the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate.