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Reviewed 20 October 2021
The vaccination drive in Saudi Arabia is progressing commendably well, with a slice of the population being fully vaccinated to date. So far, four vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the Kingdom and a few more strictly for incoming travel.
Which are they? Keep reading to find out.
Which vaccines are approved in Saudi Arabia?
Currently, the KSA is accepting only the following six vaccines for use and entry to Saudi Arabia. While this list is based on official announcements and news, we urge you to check with your airline or the embassy before making any travel plan.
The BNT162b2 is a messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccine meaning that it carries genetic instructions that help the recipient’s cells to produce protein pieces that trigger immune system response.
The ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccine is based on the virus’s genetic instructions for building the spike protein, which is stored using double-stranded DNA.
On 18 February 2021, AstraZeneca got authorized for emergency use in the Kingdom.
Johnson & Johnson: Ad26.COV2.S
The Janssen vaccine leverages the AdVac vaccine platform to engineer a common cold virus to carry genetic instructions into the arm cells where they construct a replica of the coronavirus spike, triggering the immune system.
On 18 May 2021, the Kingdom clarified that the Janssen vaccine is approved for incoming visitors.
The Moderna vaccine primarily works by injecting a fraction of the COVID-19 virus’ genetic code into the body. This will trigger the body’s immune response, therefore, creating antibodies capable of fighting the virus.
Sinopharm relies on the older but tested technology, which involves taking an inactivated form of the virus to stimulate the body’s immune response.
On 11 July 2021, Saudi authorities announced that visitors who have completed two doses of Sinopharm will be allowed entry into the Kingdom, provided they take a booster dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna.
Sinovac, too, is an inactivated virus vaccine, which means it is made from viral particles produced in a lab, which are then inactivated so they can’t infect with COVID-19.
On 11 July 2021, Saudi authorities announced that visitors who have completed two doses of Sinovac will be allowed entry into the Kingdom, provided they take a booster dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna.