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Updated 16 June 2022

In an effort to enhance immunity levels and offer further protection against the infection, the health authorities of Saudi Arabia have announced that receiving a booster dose will be necessary to maintain a full immunization status on the Tawakkalna health mobile application.

Keep reading to know more about the booster dose in the KSA, why and how you can get it and the vaccination regimen you should follow. Arabic language guide is available here – الجرعة الثالثة من لقاح كورونا في السعودية: كل ما تحتاج معرفته

Saudi Arabia COVID-19 booster dose news

Eligible Saudi residents can now take their third dose (booster dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine 8 months after taking their second dose.

Individuals above 18 years who have not received the booster dose after eight months of their second vaccine dose will no longer be considered ‘immune’ in the Kingdom’s contact-tracing Tawakkalna app.

KSA citizens who wish to undertake international travel can take their third booster shot within eight months of the second jab, instead of the earlier stipulated three months. This does not apply to age groups specified or excluded by the kingdom’s health ministry.

Proof of vaccination and health verification via the Tawakkalna app is no longer required to enter facilities, events, public transportation or to board planes except for those establishments whose nature demand otherwise.

Booster dose news for travellers to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia reopened its borders and began allowing vaccinated tourists into the country on 1 August 2021. However, the country will allow entry to vaccinated travellers with Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines only if they have received a booster dose from one of the approved vaccines in the Kingdom.

The vaccines that the Kingdom currently recognizes are: 

  • Oxford-AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Covaxin
  • Sputnik V

Booster dose mandated for residents travelling abroad

Saudi Arabia has mandated the booster dose for its citizens who wish to travel outside the Kingdom for all journeys, starting 9 February 2022. Saudi citizens who are travelling outside the Kingdom can now take a third booster dose after 8 months – instead of the earlier stipulated three months.

Residents, who are younger than 16 years are exempt from this rule. Similarly, those who appear under the exempt category on the Tawakkalna application are also not required to get a booster dose for travel.

Booster dose mandated for Malaysian pilgrims for Umrah

Effective from February 14, foreign pilgrims from Malaysia are mandated to take  booster shot before arriving in Saudi Arabia for Umrah based on the Saudi Arabian government’s request.

 

Why should you get the booster dose?

A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines is identical to the first two doses. It can help protect people with weakened immune systems who did not have a strong enough response to the first two doses of one of the vaccines. Booster doses will be more helpful for the elderly and the immunocompromised, whose bodies would have produced relatively lesser antibodies from the first two shots.

The Ministry of Health also states that the booster dose of coronavirus vaccine prevents severe disease and reduces the chances of infection as it doubles the level of antibodies reaching inside the body to a large amount, compared to the level formed from getting the second dose.

The Ministry of Health has urged all those who have recovered from the Covid-19 infection to receive the booster dose as it is important for their health and safety. The medical experts recommend that those who have recovered from coronavirus infection should receive the due dose of the vaccine at least 10 days after infection.

According to the ministry, the immunity acquired due to infection of the virus may not resist the mutated variant. However, the infection of mutant does not have the same effect among those who received doses of vaccine and a booster dose.

Starting 9 February 2022, Saudi Arabia has mandated the booster dose for its citizens who wish to travel outside the Kingdom for all journeys. The booster dose is available for those who have a gap of eight months from their second dose.

Booster dose required for ‘immune’ status in the KSA

Individuals above 18 years will only be considered ‘immune’ on Tawakkalna if they have received the booster dose after eight months of their second vaccine.

Proof of vaccination and health verification via the Tawakkalna app is no longer required to enter facilities, events, public transportation or to board planes except for those establishments whose nature demand otherwise.

Wearing a face mask in closed public spaces is not mandatory; however, it is still required for entry to the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and places for which safety protocols have been issued by Weqaya. Face masks may also be required by some public events and health facilities that wish to uphold their safety measures.

How to get COVID vaccine booster dose in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi citizens can easily register for vaccines by utilizing the Sehaty app or the Tawakkalna app.

  • Find the Sehaty App link on Google Play or Apple Store.
  • Download the Sehaty App
  • Register your data
  • Click on “Corona Vaccine” to submit your request to receive the vaccine
  • Your eligibility to receive the vaccine is evaluated according to the information entered

Users will typically receive a text message within 48 hours of submitting the application detailing the date and location of the appointment. 

Alternatively, you can simply call 937 to book an appointment. 

 

How much is the booster dose?

The Saudi government has made it clear that the vaccination jabs will be provided free of charge for all residents.