RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health announced on Sunday the availability of an updated coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine booster dose.

The updated or bivalent vaccine can be obtained by all those aged 12 years and above, who have spent two months or more after receiving the previous dose. The ministry stressed the need to complete immunization with the booster dose for people of all age groups to prevent the virus.

The ministry stated that the vaccine can be obtained by booking an appointment through the Sehhaty application. The target groups for the booster dose are the following: The elderly people; those suffering from immune diseases and chronic diseases; groups vulnerable to high risks; those who are working in environments that increase the risk of infection with the virus or its spread, and those who had received the previous dose before two or more months.

The ministry stated that the new dose of the vaccine contains important updates against the new variants of coronavirus and contributes to enhancing the level of individual’s immunization against the virus. It also gives better protection against health complications resulting from coronavirus infection.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Health, in January this year, gave the green light for the rollout of the updated COVID-19 booster dose for those who received the last shot of the vaccine three months ago.

The ministry emphasized that the updated vaccine is known as a bivalent vaccination since it offers comprehensive protection against severe COVID-19 and the omicron variant illnesses. The move aims to protect the health of elderly individuals who are eligible for the vaccination and protect them from the negative complications of a virus infection, the ministry pointed out.

The booster dose represents a protective dose that is received after the basic doses aimed at boosting immunity. Also, the previously received basic doses have a relatively good level of effectiveness against mutants.

COVID-19 vaccines can help protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from the infection of the virus. The bivalent vaccines include a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against coronavirus and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against the virus caused by the omicron variant. These are called bivalent vaccines as they contain these two components.

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