Saudi Arabia approves Pfizer Covid-19 shots for children

Children aged 12 and above eligible for coronavirus vaccine as kingdom steps up immunisation drive

Saudi Arabia has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged between 12 and 18, marking a new phase in its campaign to immunise the country against Covid-19.

The decision was taken with the approval of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, based on scientific research, a Ministry Of Health representative told The National.

“Only Pfizer has been approved for those aged 12-18, no other vaccine can be given to this age group. It is safe and effective for youth,” the representative said.

Saudi Arabia has so far approved the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are administered free to citizens and residents.

The country last week began administering the second dose of Pfizer to people over the age of 50, to be followed by the 40-50 age group after two weeks.

More than 17.2 million vaccine doses have been administered so far, covering 70 per cent of the adult population.

“To achieve high herd immunity in society, we must follow health precautions and opt for the vaccine," Health Ministry spokesman Mohammed Al Aly said on Sunday.

"On an individual level, this will decrease chances of infection and critical cases, and it highly decreases the probability of death, even through one jab.”

Registration for vaccination can be done through the Sehhaty and Tawakkalna apps.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said people accepted to perform Hajj this year must take their second dose within 48 hours of their permit being issued online.

Saudi Arabia reported 1,218 new Covid-19 cases and 15 deaths on Sunday. So far, 483,221 people have been infected with coronavirus, with a death toll of 7,775.

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