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COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ

The current COVID-19 vaccine is the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine, different vaccines may be available in the future.

The Pfizer-BionTech vaccine is given by injection.

How many doses?

There are two doses of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine, which are administered approximately 21 days apart.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) established a three-phase plan for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia.

Three phases vaccine roll-out

The targeted group in the first phase:

  • Citizens and residents who are over the age of 65 and professionals who are most vulnerable to infection
  • People whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 40
  • Those who have an immune deficiency or are taking immunosuppressive drugs
  • Those with two or more of the following chronic diseases: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, chronic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, and anyone with a history of stroke

 The targeted group in the second phase:

  • Citizens and residents over 50 years old + other health practitioners
  • Those who have one of the following chronic diseases: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, and active cancer
  • Those with a BMI between 30-40

 The targeted group in the third phase:

  • For all citizens and residents who wish to take the vaccine to protect themselves and their families

Where can I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time the MOH is providing vaccinations in their facilities. JHAH and Saudi Aramco are collaborating with the MOH to enable vaccinations at JHAH sites.

Who should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to consult with their obstetrician and pediatrician for guidance on the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is no way of knowing how COVID-19 will affect your body if you get it but we do know that it can cause serious illness and complications and in some cases lead to death. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you and in particular people around you who are at increased risk.

How does the vaccine protect me?

When vaccination is given, your immune system creates antibodies to fight the disease and may enhance the immune system through other ways.

How long until you get protection from the vaccine?

After an individual receives the Pfizer-Bion Tech vaccine, the body will start the process of making antibodies right away. However, the process of building up those antibodies takes time.

After the first dose, you will be about 50 percent protected. After the second dose, which is 21 days later, you will be upwards of 94, 95 percent protected.

If I already had COVID-19, should I still get a vaccine?

Even if you have had COVID-19 and developed natural protection or immunity against the virus, it is not known how long this protection lasts. Being vaccinated is still of benefit.

Is the vaccine safe?

  • The Pfizer-BionTech vaccine has been rigorously tested in clinical trials and is considered safe.
  • The COVID-19 Pfizer-BionTech vaccine has been approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and other relevant bodies.
  • This vaccine is endorsed by the Saudi Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. Scientists are constantly monitoring the use of the vaccine globally for potential health risks.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, it is not possible to be infected with SARS-Cov-2 and get COVID-19 from the vaccine that is currently being used in Saudi Arabia, as it contains only part of the virus.

How safe is the COVID-19 Pfizer-BionTech vaccine for people with anaphylaxis?

Those with anaphylaxis that require epinephrine should not be vaccinated.

A small number of people may experience: 

  • Headache and fatigue
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever and shivering

After Care:

To relieve any side-effects:

  • Take paracetamol to relieve headaches, muscle pain or fever.
  • Place a cold compress on the injection site to reduce any discomfort, redness or swelling.

If you have a reaction to the vaccine or one that prevents you from being able to eat, sleep, or work, or a reaction for more than three days, you should contact your primary care doctor or visit a walk-in care clinic.

Seek care immediately if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of face and throat, fast heartbeat, or dizziness.

What is the relationship of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BionTech vaccine to the facial nerve palsy?

There is no documented relationship between the vaccine and facial nerve palsy, and it was not classified as a side effect of the vaccine in the third phase of clinical trials.

Influenza viruses are active in the fall and winter season, and COVID-19 may also be more active at this time.

The flu vaccine helps to reduce the risk of contracting influenza, being admitted to hospital, and death.

If a person is more susceptible to COVID-19 infection, then they are also more likely to get the flu.

Due to the current circumstances of the pandemic, the vaccine has been approved as a valid vaccine for use as emergency use authorization.

What are the tips before getting vaccinated?

  • Advise the clinician if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness.  
  • Inform the clinician about your medical history if you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or asthma.
  • Advise the clinician if you are taking medication and/or if you have allergies to any known vaccines or medications.

Is it true that the COVID-19 Pfizer-BionTech vaccine causes infertility?

There is no documented relationship between the vaccine and infertility.

What is the appropriate procedure after vaccination for a woman who wants to become pregnant?

Wait a minimum of three months after taking the second dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BionTech vaccine.

Is there a conflict between the Corona Pfizer-BionTech vaccine and any of the other vaccines?

There are no current studies that demonstrate the dual use of COVID-19 vaccines, so we advise against combining vaccines.

Is there a conflict between the influenza vaccine and the new COVID-19 vaccine?

There are no current studies that demonstrate the dual use of vaccines, so we advise against combining vaccines and setting 14 days between the vaccine and the other.

Sources: Saudi Ministry of Health  Johns Hopkins University (JHU)  NHS Mayo Clinic

This FAQ will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

Infection Prevention

Leading international COVID-19 expert and JHAH Director of Infection Control, Dr. Al-Tawfiq, reminds us that infection prevention compliance is critical in advance of vaccination.

"We should take the COVID-19 vaccine, but remember that a vaccine is not a cure, so stay safe"

Dr. Jaffar Al-Tawfiq, JHAH COVID-19 Incident Commander & Infectious Disease Specialist ›

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

Ministry of Health

The Saudi Ministry of Health’s (MOH) FAQ webpage on COVID-19 vaccination.

Browse MOH

 

MOH COVID-19 Helpline

For more specific information on the COVID-19 vaccine contact MOH's COVID-19 helpline.

Call the helpline at 937

“Sehaty” App

Registering Saudi citizens and residents for free COVID-19 vaccine from MOH.

Download App

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University's (JHU) FAQs on COVID-19 vaccines from their Coronavirus Resource Center.

Browse JHU

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