Saudi Arabia gets first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine – minister says

Saudi Arabia has received the first shipment of a , Minister of Health, Tawfiq al-Rabiah said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the kingdom had approved the use of the vaccine, developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, in the Gulf country.

“I am happy to inform everyone, citizens and residents, of the arrival of the first shipment of the vaccine this morning,’’ al-Rabiah said, adding that the ministry will start vaccinations within days.

The Gulf country became the first in the region to obtain the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia opened the door to registration to be vaccinated via a mobile application developed by the ministry.

Around 100,000 people have already registered, al-Rabiah said .

Priority will be given to those aged 65 or older, health workers and those suffering from chronic diseases, al-Rabiah added.

The kingdom previously said the COVID-19 vaccines would be made available to its citizens and residents for free.

Saudi Arabia, which has a population of some 34 million, has recorded more than 360,000 Coronavirus cases, including 6,000 deaths. (dpa/)

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