More than 60 percent of Saudis and expats have shown an interest in taking the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, a government health official said on Friday.
“Surveys confirm that more than 60 percent of Saudis and expats wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and consider it as the ideal solution to put an end to the new coronavirus pandemic crisis,” Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventative Medicine Dr. Abdullah Asiri said in an interview with Al Arabiya.
“We rely on community awareness, which has played a major role in dealing with the virus since its first stages. Saudis and expats committed very well, and we hope that this awareness continues with them getting the vaccine on time.”
More than 300,000 people were registered to be vaccinated as of Friday evening, according to the Ministry of Health.
“The signs are promising, as public poll opinions indicated that between 60 and 70 percent of people got tired of the pandemic and wish to receive the vaccine and, consequently, they are interested in a safe and efficient vaccine, which is the ideal solution.”
He said the vaccine would be given through one inoculation center in Riyadh, which currently includes 550 clinics, more than 600 beds and employs more than 100 health practitioners.
It was normal for there to be some resistance to a vaccine, said Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. “Resisting vaccinations is a historical thing. For example, we remember the smallpox vaccine and how it faced resistance in the beginning and the various rumors about it containing cow genes and so on. But now, thankfully, the vaccine helped get rid of the disease completely. Vaccines saved humanity.”
The ministry plans to establish vaccination centers in other cities and governorates, so that tens of thousands of vaccinations can be administered daily.
Saudi Arabia on Friday reported 10 new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the death toll to 6,101.
There were 174 new cases reported, increasing the total number of infections to 360,573. There are 3,016 active cases, 436 of whom are in critical condition.
According to the ministry, 47 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, there were 36 in Makkah, and 28 in Madinah.
There have been a further 208 recoveries, raising the total number of recoveries to 351,573.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 10.57 million PCR tests, with 42,448 carried out in the past 24 hours.