Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 will not be mandatory in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: The use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) last week, will not be mandatory, a health official has said.

“The vaccine will not be compulsory for anyone. But workers in the health sector, particularly those in the frontline, are aware of harm resulting from infection due to dealing with and treating the patients,” Dr. Mazen Hassanain, the managing director of the SaudiVax pharmaceuticals company, added.

He told Saudi television Al Ekhbariya that the SFDA will analyse samples from each batch of the vaccine arriving in the kingdom before allowing its use to ensure its quality.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is undoubtedly safe. But we should admit that there is worry among the people,” Dr. Hassanain said.

Natural and healthy

He termed this worry as natural and healthy. “For the first time, the ordinary people have information about the remedy, clinical trials and side effects of vaccines. In addition, all this has happened in a very short time, given that a year ago, no one had an idea about clinical trials and vaccines,” he explained.

Saudi authorities have said that the vaccine will be made available to everyone in the kingdom.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia in the next few days and will be distributed in stages, according to media reports.

The vaccine will initially be used for people over 65 years, health workers and those suffering from obesity, immunity deficiency and chronic diseases.