Relief for Pakistanis as Saudi Arabia approves two Chinese Covid vaccines

By Shafqat Ali | Gwadar Pro Aug 26, 2021

ISLAMABAD, August 26 (Gwadar Pro)- Thousands of Pakistanis can take a sigh of relief as the Saudi Arabian government has approved two Chinese vaccines - Sinovac and Sinopharm - for the use against coronavirus.

The Gulf state was earlier giving Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna to its citizens, but the addition of the Chinese vaccines to the list will ease difficulties faced by many overseas citizens.

Thousands of Pakistanis were waiting to go back due to the unavailability of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as the country is mostly using Chinese vaccines.

 “It was possible for those who had completed their vaccination program with Sinopharm or Sinovac to be accepted in the Kingdom, provided they had received a booster shot of a vaccine that was approved in the country,” the Saudi health ministry announced Wednesday.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia previously said that two doses of two different vaccines could be taken, according to international scientific studies that showed the safety and effectiveness of this approach in addressing the virus, adding that the second dose could be taken at least three weeks after the first.

“People recovering from COVID-19 should receive two doses of the vaccine, the first being at least 10 days after infection with the second administered at least three weeks after,” said a Saudi media report.

It added that if the infection occurred after receiving the first dose, the second dose could be administered at least 10 days after infection.

Pakistan welcomed the decision of the Saudi Arabia government to allow direct travel from Pakistan to the Kingdom.

Recently, Saudi Arabia eased COVID-19-related restrictions for fully vaccinated expats, allowing them to enter the Kingdom directly from countries with travel bans, such as Pakistan.

Turning to Twitter, the Pakistan embassy in Riyadh welcomed the development.  "The Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh welcomes the decision of the Govt of the KSA to allow direct travel from Pakistan to KSA, for those having valid Saudi residency permits, and who have received 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine inside KSA, before their departure from the Kingdom," said the embassy.

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