Saudi Arabia says second vaccine dose ‘best protection against delta variant’

Saudi Arabia records 12 deaths and 1,194 new cases in past 24 hours

A Saudi man gets a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 17, 2020.

A Saudi man gets a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 17, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
RIYADH: The best form of protection against the COVID-19 delta variant spreading rapidly around the world is receiving two doses of a vaccine, the Saudi Ministry of Health said on Sunday.

Spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly warned in a weekly press conference that the four major COVID-19 variants — alpha, beta, gamma and delta — are still circulating in 124 countries.

“Some of these variants are not great threats while others are more concerning. At this stage, the delta variant is the most important and concerning due to several factors,” Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

“The delta variant spreads between people three times faster than the original variant of the virus, and studies have shown that the severity of the symptoms in this variant is higher. Therefore research has proved that one dose of vaccine is not enough to strengthen the immune system against this harsh mutation,” he added.

“This variant has become prevalent throughout the world and some countries have recorded that 80 percent of their infections are a result of the delta variant.” These countries include: US, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Italy, India and the UK.

Al-Abd Al-Aly continued to urge Saudis who are eligible for vaccination to receive both jab doses as soon as possible. “All eligible categories are those who are aged 12 and older; it is important to hurry and receive both doses for the health security of the nation.”

He mentioned that the Kingdom is among the few countries with impressive vaccination records for its population, adding: “There are more appointments and centers available for everyone to be vaccinated.”

More than 70 percent of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose. The Kingdom has administered 24.6 million doses of the vaccine so far, 20 percent of which are second doses.

Saudi Arabia confirmed 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,167.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,194 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 518,143 people have now contracted the disease.

Of the total number of cases, 10,847 remain active and 1,408 in critical condition.

According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 293, followed by the Eastern Province with 226, Makkah with 183, Asir recorded 122, and Jazan confirmed 92 cases.

The health ministry also announced that 1,164 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 499,129.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said 19,293 coronavirus violations were recorded between July 18 and 24, with the highest reported in Riyadh with 6,204, then the Eastern province with 2,571, and Madinah with 2,455.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened two mosques in two regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after two people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,878 within 166 days.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 194 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.17 million.

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