Saudi Arabia approves mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday approved the taking of two doses of two different vaccines against the emerging COVID-19 virus, local media reported.

The Saudi ministry of health said that the national committee for infectious diseases has given the approval of taking the first and second doses of two different vaccines for COVID-19, according to Saudi press agency.

According to the new decision, people can receive the first and second doses of two different vaccines from among the vaccines available in the Kingdom.

“According to international scientific studies that showed the possibility of giving two doses of two different vaccines for COVID-19 is safely and effectively in addressing the virus while achieving the effectiveness for which the second dose aims,” the statement added.

The ministry said in another statement that all those who are 50 years old and over (according to the Hijri calendar) and have spent 42 days after receiving the first dose can take the second dose starting from June 24.

Meanwhile, the ministry on Wednesday reported 1,253 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, marking a sharp drop in the number of infections as compared to Tuesday’s figure of 1,479.

The death toll rose by 13 to 7,716.

The ministry of health confirmed that the national campaign for the COVID-19 vaccine is “going according to plan.”

“So far, 16.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to citizens and residents through more than 587 centers in various regions of the Kingdom,” it said.

As there is a shortfall of vaccines, different countries have begun to seriously consider mixing and matching different vaccine shots.

The United Kingdom (UK) raced the world ahead in January 2021 to allow its citizens to mix and match two shots of the vaccine, in case the vaccine they received as a first dose is not available on time.

Canada also announced on June 1 that people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may receive Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna as a second dose.

France, Spain and Sweden also allowed mixing vaccine vaccines.

Arab countries, such as the UAE and Bahrain, which have vaccinated huge proportions of their demographics with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, have begun giving booster shots to their citizens to boost their immunity against COVID-19. The booster vaccine is given as a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.