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Updated 27 October 2021

In an effort to enhance immunity levels and offer further protection against the infection, the health authorities of Saudi Arabia have announced that people aged 60 and over will get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their immunity against the virus. 

Keep reading to know more about the booster shot in the KSA, why and how you can get it and the vaccination regimen you should follow. 

Booster shot programme in the KSA

Saudi Arabia has now announced that the COVID-19 booster shots will be made available to residents. The Ministry of Health recommends booster doses especially for those in high-risk groups and vulnerable categories including patients with chronic diseases, renal failure, health workers and elderly people. International vaccinated travellers with Sinopharm, or Sinovac vaccines can enjoy quarantine free if they receive one booster shot of any approved vaccine in the country. 

For residents

Saudi Arabia has now made booster shots available for all those at age of 18 or above provided six months have passed since they received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier, Health Ministry spokesperson Dr Muhammad Al-Abdulaali confirmed at a briefing that booster shots were already being offered to specific priority groups, including patients with kidney failure or those who have organ transplants. 

 

For travellers

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

The vaccines that the Kingdom currently recognizes are: 

  • Oxford-AstraZeneca
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson 

Why should you get the booster shot?

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 shots will be more helpful for the elderly and the immunocompromised, whose bodies would have produced relatively lesser antibodies from the first two shots.

The efficacy of the approved booster shots in Saudi Arabia are as follows:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech: As outlined by Pfizer’s 2021 second-quarter earnings report, taking a booster shot following the two initial jabs increases the level of delta variant antibodies fivefold and elevenfold in the 18 to 55 and 65 to 85 age groups respectively. 
  • AstraZeneca :The results on booster dose trials revealed that the vaccine was only 62% effective when participants were given two full doses, but its efficacy rose to 90% when a half dose followed by a full dose was administered.
  • Johnson & Johnson: J&J reported that two clinical trials showed that a booster dose of its vaccine given 6 months after the initial dose generated a large increase in antibodies.
  • Moderna:Moderna’s trial data showed a significant increase in antibodies against variants. An analysis showed the booster increased neutralizing antibody levels against variants of concern, including Delta by more than 42.3-fold, Gamma by 43.6-fold, and Beta by 32-fold.

How can you get the booster shot?

Saudi citizens can easily register for vaccines by utilizing the Sehaty app or 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 shot?

The Saudi government has made it clear that the vaccination jabs will be provided free of charge for all residents. The price of booster vaccines has not been released yet.