JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health announced the launch of new drive-through vaccine centers at a briefing on Sunday, as well as stating that fluctuating coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to concern authorities in the Kingdom.
People will be able to travel to the centers in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah and Abha, and can book an appointment to take the vaccine at one through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly added that virus numbers have been fluctuating — some more than others in different regions — since the start of the year.
“We have been monitoring the numbers constantly and carefully. These numbers can go down of course if we all adhere to the health precautions,” he said.
He added: “Any type of carelessness from our society could lead us to stricter measures we do not want to take.”
An important Twitter question was raised at the conference, with one observer asking: “I have taken the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but my appointment for the second dose is after two months and a half. Is it possible to reschedule my appointment earlier? Or take the second dose from Pfizer?”
Al-Aly said studies about the use of different vaccines for one beneficiary are still ongoing but stressed: “Scientifically it is better to receive the vaccine from a specific company and get the second dose from the same company,” he said.
“The time period is set by scientists. We must trust and attend appointments on set dates.”
A total of 780,667 beneficiaries across the Kingdom have received jabs so far. A total of 322 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Sunday, meaning 377,383 people in Saudi Arabia have contracted the disease.
There are 2,584 active cases, 481 of them critical.
Al-Aly announced 294 new recovered cases taking the total number of recoveries to 368,305 while six new deaths had been reported, raising the death toll to 6,494.
Saudi Arabia’s recovery rate is holding steady at 97.5 percent.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the pandemic.