Cairo: Saudi health authorities have recommended certain vulnerable categories of people to take an updated vaccine against COVID-19 after a new variant of the pandemic was recently detected in the country.
The health ministry has advised these categories to reserve an appointment for vaccination via its Sehaty app.
They are specified as the pregnancy women; people aged 50 years or above; health practitioners directly dealing with patients; sufferers of chronic immunosuppressive diseases including active cancer; and those at risk of infection due to excessive obesity.
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The updated vaccine against COVID-19 is taken to prevent complications of the disease and it is effective against prevalent variants, according to the Saudi Public Health Authority that said the vaccine is allowed for people over 18 and can be taken regardless of the number of previous doses.
Last month, Saudi health authorities said they had locally detected the JN.1 variant of COVID-19, but said it was no cause for worry.
The Public Health Authority said at the time it had monitored the local spread of the variant, JN.1, accounting for 36 per cent of the cases in the country. “This has not been accompanied by any increase in admissions into intensive care units,” the government agency, known as Weqya, said.
Saudi Arabia has gradually lifted pandemic-related restrictions, reopening different businesses and activities in the country. Last year, around 1.8 million Muslims attended annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia for the first time in three years after the pandemic-induced restrictions were lifted.