The Kingdom's National Committee for Infectious Diseases uses a scientific process to approve vaccines based on safety and efficacy results of clinical studies and other data provided by manufacturers.

Saudi health worker prepares to collect a swab sample for a PCR test at drive-through testing center, at King Abdulaziz University in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, February 3, 2021.
Saudi health worker prepares to collect a swab sample for a PCR test at drive-through testing center, at King Abdulaziz University in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, February 3, 2021. (AP)

Saudi Arabia's food and drug administration has approved the Covid vaccine made by AstraZeneca, state TV reported.

The SFDA gave clearance for the administration of the jab based on data provided by the manufacturers, but will test the vaccine once they receive the shipments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulaali said: “We have exceeded half-a-million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the plan to expand continues to accelerate.” 

He added that the National Committee for Infectious Diseases has approved one dose for those who have previously been infected with the virus six months on from their recovery.

The dose, he said, is considered a booster for the natural immunity that they have formed, and the health status in Tawakkalna app will be “immune-recovered.”

He also stressed that vaccines are a strong weapon to combat the pandemic, and that all vaccines given in the Kingdom are safe and effective.

READ MORE: AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine supplies to EU will be lower than expected

Vaccination in Makkah

The country's Ministry of Health has begun the mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus at the Umm Al-Qura University Vaccination Center in Al-Abdiyah, Makkah on Tuesday.

Hamad Al-Otaibi, spokesman of health affairs in Makkah region, said that the gradual operation of the vaccination center at Umm Al-Qura University has started, through six tracks with a capacity for 4,000 people.

Al-Otaibi said that the Umm Al-Qura University Vaccination Center is the main vaccination center in Makkah, and five other centers will be opened soon.

The Kingdom launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on December 17, 2020 after receiving its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in an effort to control the outbreak.

Saudi Arabia is the second country in the Gulf Cooperation Council, after Bahrain, to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Saudi Arabia 's coronavirus death toll now stands at 6,450.

READ MORE: G20 commits to equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccine

Source: TRTWorld and agencies