Where do I find information about the COVID-19 Vaccine, and the COVID-19 Immunization campaign?
Information is available through:
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness page https://covid19awareness.sa/en/archives/10691
- The 937 Center
- The Sehaty app
Why is COVID-19 Vaccine Important?
- COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19 and the ideal approach to achieve herd immunity.
- COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
How will COVID-19 Vaccine Protect me?
- COVID-19 vaccination will reduce your risk of contracting or suffering from COVID-19 disease. It will help protect you by creating an antibody / immune response without actually having to experience COVID-19. In addition, we believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you ever do catch COVID-19.
- Finally, getting the vaccine yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- The combination of getting vaccinated and following MOH recommendations to protect yourself and others (wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing) will offer the best protection from COVID-19 until more conclusive and evidence-based research and information are available.
How can I be sure the vaccine is safe and effective?
- Any COVID-19 vaccine that is approved will go through all the clinical trials and safety checks that all other licensed medicines go through. The Kingdom has some of the highest safety standards in the world.
- All available and used vaccines must be licensed and approved by the regulatory authorities in the Kingdom (Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), Ministry of Health, and others) prior to being used. Such vaccines may also be licensed and approved by other international regulatory authorities (US FDA, World Health Organization (WHO), and European Medicine Agency (EMA).
Please be assured that the health authorities in Saudi Arabia are only choosing the safest and most effective vaccines available globally.
Before a vaccine is approved by the regulatory authorities for use by the public, it must undergo extensive testing by its manufacturer for its safety and efficiency through clinical trials that include tens of thousands of volunteers. The results of the clinical trials on safety and effectiveness of the vaccine are carefully evaluated by highly trained scientists and doctors prior to approval. Most common side effects of a vaccine are identified in studies prior vaccine approval.
How many doses of the vaccine do I need to take
It depends on the vaccine. Majority of the covid-19 vaccines available require two doses to be effective, separated by 3 - 4 weeks depending on the vaccine.
Will I be protected after the first dose of the vaccine?
Majority of available vaccine requires two doses to be fully effective.
Will the vaccine have side effects?
- Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.
- Common Side effects may include pain or redness at the injection site, fever, chills and fatigue.
- To relieve these symptoms:
- Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area, to reduce pain and redness at the injection site.
- Take paracetamol to relieve headache, fever, and fatigue.
- If any of the symptoms persists for more than a week or if they seem to get worse or if you are concerned, through Sehhaty app, the nearest medical facility, or call 937.
Also, like any other vaccine, hypersensitivity may occur in very rare cases and the chances for it to happen does not exceed 0.6%. This may require rapid intervention and usually appear immediately after taking the vaccine. Therefore, you will be monitored for 15 minutes after getting vaccinated.
If there are more than one COVID-19 vaccine available, will I be able to choose which vaccine to take?
- The COVID-19 vaccine that you receive will be based on the availability of the different vaccines at the time of your vaccination.
- You will be advised as to the type of vaccine that you will receive at the time of your vaccination.
- As previously stated, the safety and efficiency of all vaccines used is assured, given all of the available clinical and scientific information provided by the drug companies and the SFDA. Information on vaccines and any side effects will be closely and continually monitored. Saudi ministry of health will ensure the availability of the most safest and effective vaccine.
I have heard that the new vaccine changes our DNA. Is this true?
The COVID-19 vaccination does not change our DNA. It is not possible for any vaccination to do this.
Do I have to provide a proof of vaccination to enter the Kingdom
Not necessarily. A negative COVID-19 PCR test suffice.
Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 Vaccine under this program?
No, the cost of the vaccine is covered by the government for all eligible individuals.
Can other vaccines, including influenza vaccines, be administered at or around the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no contradiction if the two vaccines are received at the same time, but it is recommended to separate receiving them by 3-4 weeks to enable and simplify monitoring the side effects of each vaccine separately and not to confuse them.
Should children be vaccinated for COVID-19?
- Children younger than 18 will not be a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine early in vaccine rollout process, because they were not included in the clinical trial studies that were conducted to receive approval from the regulatory authorities. Those trials were mainly focused on adults. As the vaccine trials expand, the inclusion of children will produce information on safety and effectiveness that can be applied to all eligible children.
- Therefore, it is highly recommended to register them in the Sehhaty application to enable them to receive the vaccine once safety and efficacy data is available and the vaccine is approved to be used for children by the regulatory authorities.
I’m over 65 years, is the vaccine safe for me?
Yes. The over 65 population is a priority group for the vaccine due to their increased risk of severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19.
I am showing one symptom of COVID19. Can I still be vaccinated?
No. Your vaccination should be delayed if you suspect or have confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether you have symptoms.
How do I get the Covid-19 vaccine?
- Download Sehhaty application.
- Fill-out the registration and eligibility assessment survey form on the Sehhaty app
- You will be notified electronically according to your eligibility and priority
If I'm eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, do I need to make an appointment to get the vaccine once it is available?
Yes, you must make an appointment using the Sehhaty app at the moment due to vaccine supply limitations. This may change over time.
How can I make an appointment to get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Appointments can be made on the Sehhaty app.
Am I going to be reminded of my appointment?
Yes, you will be reminded of your appointment.
Can I cancel my appointment and reschedule another one?
- For the first dose appointment, yes, you may reschedule your appointment. However, please note that cancelling/rescheduling the first dose appointment will results in automatically cancelling/rescheduling the second dose appointment as well. This is because both appointments for receiving the first and second dose required for the vaccine are booked at the same time at the time of initial booking to ensure receiving the 2nd dose within the allowed window of time.
- For the second dose appointment, it is not recommended to cancel your appointment, as you will need to take the second dose within a certain period from the first dose for the vaccine to be effective. Please note that the first dose will not be effective alone
- If you absolutely need to reschedule the second dose appointment, you will need to reschedule the appointment as soon as possible if you’re still in the window advised by the healthcare practitioner to ensure protection.
How long do I have to wait to make an appointment for the second dose?
Both appointments for receiving the first and second dose required for the vaccine are booked at the same time at the time of initial booking to ensure receiving the 2nd dose within the allowed window of time to achieve protection.
Where will my COVID-19 vaccination take place?
Vaccination locations will be available on the Sehhaty app during the appointment scheduling process. At the time of making an appointment you will be given the location options for selection.
How many doses of COVID-19 Vaccines do I need to take? Can I have one dose from one vaccine and the second from another?
- At this time, the majority of the covid-19 vaccines available require two doses to be effective, separated by 3- 4 weeks depending on the vaccine.
- The second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine must be completed with the same vaccine brand as the first dose. Reminders for your appointment for your second dose will be sent to you electronically before your appointment.
What should I do if I miss the second dose of the vaccine?
- It is strongly recommended to plan appropriately for the COVID-19 vaccine and only make an appointment if you are able to follow the timeframe for the second vaccine. In order for the vaccine to be effective, you will have to take the second dose within the recommended period.
- You will be sent a reminder before your appointment for the second dose to remind you of your appointment.
- If you miss your appointment for the second dose you will need to reschedule another appointment as soon as possible if you’re still in the window advised by the healthcare practitioner.
How is the vaccine administered?
COVID-19 vaccines are to be administered by an injection, usually into your arm.
Will the injection be painful?
There may be slight discomfort, mild pain, and redness at the site of the injection, but this is temporary and should resolve within few days.
I don’t like needles. Is there any other way that I can have the vaccine?
Unfortunately, the vaccination has been developed using an injection. At this stage two injections are required for the vaccines, over two visits.
What should I expect after getting the vaccine at the vaccination site? Will I need to wait at the site after my injection of the vaccine to be observed by medical staff?
Immediately after you have received your vaccination (after each dose), you will be asked to stay at the site for 15-20 minutes for observation. In other vaccination clinics or sites, there will be designated waiting areas for you to wait in for observation.
What are the expected side effects of the vaccine?
- Any vaccine may cause side effects.
- Early results from the first COVID-19 vaccines tested on people show no serious side effects. The side effects reported include one or more of the following: mild to moderate discomfort or pain and redness at the site of injection, headache, fatigue, and in some instances low-grade fever, and chills. These symptoms are usually mild and resolve within few days
- To monitor the immediate side effects, you will be asked to wait for 15-20 minutes at the vaccination site to ensure no immediate and severe allergic reaction or other reaction occurs. If you have any longer term side effects (longer than seven days), or any of the side effects seem to get worse or if you are concerned, You should report the symptoms through the Sehhaty app, the nearest medical facility, or call 937.
Do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing after getting my second dose of the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue with the MOH recommendations to help stop the pandemic.
Can I get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine?
No, it is not possible to catch COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines use either a modified but harmless virus (inactivated), parts of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause Covid-19.
Can anyone take the vaccine when they want? Am I eligible to take the COVID19 vaccine? What are the conditions for eligibility?
The Kingdom’s aim is to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all citizens and residents within the next months, based on a phased strategic plan to limit the impact the COVID-19 virus on our community and our critical infrastructure. To that end, the targeted population for each phase of the roll-out have been identified based on specific criteria selected by the MOH and the Saudi CDC.
The targeted group in the first phase:
- Security and military sectors and those of similar status in critical locations (determined by the authority)
- Health practitioners (including emergency services) in critical locations (determined by the agency)
Categories at risk of complications:
- Those aged 65 and over
- Obesity (BMI more than 40)
- Immunodeficiency (such as organ transplantation, immunosuppressive drugs)
- Two or more of the following chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, history of stroke)
The targeted group in the second phase:
- The rest of the vital jobs, security and military sectors, and the like
- Essential employees in vital sectors in the public and private sector (education, communications, electricity, municipalities, transportation, and the like)
- Other health practitioners
Categories at risk of complications:
- Who suffers from one of the following diseases: asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, active cancer, obesity (BMI 31 to 40), sickle cell anemia.
The targeted group in the third phase:
- All public and private sector employees
Categories at risk of complications:
- Everyone can get vaccinated
However, please use the Sehhaty application to register for taking the vaccine, as registration in the application makes it easy for you to take the vaccine when it is available for you and when you qualify. You will be notified via text message when you’re eligible, in order to book your appointment for the vaccine.
Are there certain medical conditions where COVID-19 vaccine is not generally recommended or should be delayed? Such as allergies, pregnancy, certain medical conditions, other vaccination interactions?
Conditions where a patient should not receive COVID-19 Vaccine:
- known history of a severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis) associated with a vaccine and/or any components of the COVID-19 vaccine
Conditions or instances where delaying / deferring vaccination until after the condition is resolved is recommended:
- The presence of a moderate or severe acute illness with or without a fever
- Pregnancy or breast feeding
Should pregnant women get COVID-19 vaccine?
- Initially, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding will not receive COVID-19 vaccinations because they were not included in the clinical trial studies that were conducted to receive approval from the regulatory authorities. This recommendation may change as more research and information becomes available.
- Having said that, pregnant women are encouraged to register for the COVID-19 vaccine pending health authorities’ guideline changes.
- Other considerations:
- Women who are planning to get pregnant in the next three months should postpone being vaccinated until they have given birth.
- If a woman finds out she is pregnant after having the first dose, she should not have the second dose until after the pregnancy has ended.
If I have already had Covid-19, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Anyone who has previously tested positive for the COVID-19 infection (either PCR or Serology) will be excluded from eligibility for the vaccine until more data is available at this stage.
If I have symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of my appointment, can I still get the vaccine?
Whoever was previously infected with Covid-19 has varying immunity, and therefore the vaccination will be postponed at this stage until a period of 90 days has elapsed from the previous infection, the applicant for taking the vaccine should be from the targeted group at the time.
How long will I be protected after getting the second dose?
- To date, it is not known how long the immunity created by the vaccine will last. It may be short term, similar to the seasonal influenza vaccine, needing annual vaccination, or longer term and will need a booster injection every few years, or lifelong such as typical childhood vaccinations.
- Until enough is known about how long the vaccine protection last, and until enough people are vaccinated, it is very important that you follow the MOH recommendations to protect yourself and others (such as wear a face mask, make sure you follow social distancing rules, and wash your hands etc.)
Why was my appointment postponed after it was confirmed?
Those who received "Pfizer" COVID-19 vaccine for the first dose, their second dose has been rescheduled due to the delay of supply from the manufacturer to the Kingdom and the other countries that exporting the vaccine, as a result of stopping its factory to expand their production lines.
Does rescheduling apply to first and second dose dates?
Rescheduling will be applied for the first dose dates that have been booked starting January 20, and the second dose dates that have been booked between January 28, 2021 and February 16, 2021. A message with the updated dates will be sent to them.
Will the new appointment be available before the time period between the two doses expires?
Yes, knowing that the second dose can be obtained 21 to 42 days after obtaining the first dose, with the possibility of waiting up to 30 days in case of extreme necessity.
Does delay in obtaining the second dose affect the effectiveness of the vaccination and the achievement of complete immunity?
No, if the period does not exceed 42 days.