The Saudi Ministry of Health announced Sunday speeding up the Covid-19 vaccination campaign by including new age categories and postponing the administration of the second dose in order to secure the first jab to the largest number of people possible.
The ministry noted that its new decision came in light of scarcity of vaccine supplies due to challenges facing global manufacturers in meeting the demands, and in order to ensure that the largest number of people receive the first dose of the vaccine.
Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulali said that curbing the rising infection rates cannot be achieved through the vaccination, but with adherence to precautionary measures, warning of the consequences of the spike in infections in April due to the sharp increase of new clusters.
In a press conference, Abdulali said the Kingdom registered 799 new infections, bringing the total to 398,435. The number of active cases reached 8,360, including 915 patients in critical condition.
He added that 548 new recoveries were recorded, in addition to seven new deaths, bringing the total fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic to 6,754.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set guidelines and protocols for issuing Umrah and prayer permits for the holy month of Ramadan.
Only worshippers, who received at least one dose of the vaccine, would be allowed into either Makkah’s Grand Mosque or Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque.
Permits would only be issued through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna dedicated applications, and would not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, according to the ministry.
Moreover, unauthorized vehicles will be prohibited from accessing the central region around Makkah, while visitors with permits must arrive on time or risk losing their time slot, the ministry underlined.