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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has vaccinated more than 3 million people against COVID-19, about 70 percent of those who have registered to receive the jab.
The Ministry of Health has continued to emphasize the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines, amid queries and doubts that have pushed some in the Kingdom to opt out of getting the jabs.
At Sunday’s press conference ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly answered a series of frequently asked questions that included the postponement of pregnancy plans until after receiving the jab, blood donation, vaccine-related fatalities, whether the vaccine would be a requirement for travel or Umrah and other topics.
Al-Aly said there were no indications that the vaccines could have any effect on plans to get pregnant and that plans should go forward smoothly. He added that nursing mothers could also take the vaccines safely, while studies continued to be done on the possibility of providing the vaccine to expectant mothers and people in younger age groups.
Blood donors could also donate blood accordingly without any issues, the spokesman told the press conference.
With concerns about blood clots still strong in people’s minds after high-profile cases of foreign governments pausing or altering their vaccination programs over this health concern, Al-Aly reiterated that a causal link between blood clots and the vaccine had not been proven. There was no accurate or strong evidence that would indicate a correlation between the vaccines and thrombosis, he said, and the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the side effects.
On the subject of Umrah and travel, Al-Aly said that the vaccine was for everyone’s safety, especially when large crowds of people were involved, and authorities had not imposed any restrictions on travelers or pilgrims who had not been vaccinated.
For people who have received the vaccine, a post-jab survey on the Sehhaty app allows them to register any symptoms after the first or second dose.
The spokesman confirmed that no serious side effects had been noted other than what was expected — a slight fever, headache, nausea, chills or muscle pain. He added that no vaccine-related deaths had occurred, rejecting claims that a man had died due to complications after receiving a dose.
385,020 Total cases
He went on to say that, with a high level of community awareness and compliance with precautionary measures and protocols, the current fluctuating rate in daily confirmed cases could go down.
For more than six weeks the Kingdom’s daily count has been in the 300s, while the number of patients in intensive care units continue to climb.
On Sunday the ministry reported 367 new cases, raising the total number of confirmed infections to 385,020. The Riyadh region had the highest case count with 165, followed by the Eastern Province with 74 and Makkah with 46 cases. Baha and Najran both reported two cases each.
With Sunday’s numbers, the number of active cases has risen to 3,999, 584 of which are in critical care. The number of recoveries increased to 374,412 on Sunday with the addition of 277 recoveries in the past 24 hours. There were seven new coronavirus-related deaths, raising the death toll to 6,609.
Authorities are continuing their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.
They recorded 29,191 violations of the regulations within one week, according to a Ministry of Interior report. Riyadh recorded the highest number of breaches with 10,949 violations, followed by Makkah with 7,064 and the Eastern Province with 3,869.
The ministry called on people to stick to the rules.
The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance on Sunday temporarily shut down six mosques in five regions after a number of coronavirus cases were confirmed among worshippers.
Infections have led to 332 mosques being forced to temporarily close over the past 42 days, with 319 reopening after sanitization measures were completed.
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