RIYADH - Dr. Abdullah Asiri, assistant deputy minister of health for preventive health, said that children between the ages of 5 and 11 are required to administer a second dose of the vaccine against coronavirus and that is after an interval of four weeks of taking the first dose.

Attending a program titled “In public” on the Saudi Television channel, he said that children’s dose of vaccine is equivalent to approximately half of the known normal dose. He said that Omicron is the only mutated variant of coronavirus found at present in the Kingdom.

Dr. Asiri said that vaccines for children are safe and effective. “These vaccines have been used to vaccinate millions of children between the ages of five and 11 years around the world, especially in the United States of America, which started doing so about one and a half months ago,” he said.

The ministry official said that no cases of myocarditis were recorded among children who received vaccines. “The state did not compel anyone to take the vaccine, but rather motivate a person to take it as it is associated with something that ensures protection of the society.”

Dr. Asiri said that the general situation of the pandemic in the Kingdom is reassuring, especially critical cases that are still few even after an increase in cases of coronavirus infection, particularly the Omicron mutant that can fast spread between persons.

He said that the Omicron mutant, which has become the only strain found in the Kingdom and almost all countries, is active in the upper part of the respiratory system, but it could reach the lungs in smaller number of infected people compared to other variants. “Omicron spreads more among the unvaccinated group, compared to other groups. It turned into a cold virus rather than a virus that infects the lower parts of the respiratory system,” he said.

Dr. Asiri attributed the calmness of the pandemic situation to a state of balance between the numbers of new infections and herd immunity.

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