Hot Topics
COVID-19 & Vaccine FAQs
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
Why is the vaccine important? 
Immunization is a simple, safe, and effective way to protect against diseases. It helps the body fight certain infections and strengthens the immune system, by training it to form antibodies. Given the rapid and easy spread of the novel Coronavirus, and the majority of the world’s population being infected, the importance of this vaccine lies in protecting our bodies against the Coronavirus by allowing them to safely develop an immune response. This happens by either preventing or controlling the infection. 

How do vaccines work? 
Vaccines reduce the risk of diseases by working with the body's natural defenses to maintain protection. When the body receives the vaccine, the immune system responds by:
  • Recognizing the virus as soon as it enters the body.
  • Producing antibodies (proteins that the immune system naturally makes to fight disease).
  • Remembering the disease and how to fight it.

This is why a vaccine is a safe and smart option. Once the body receives one or more doses of the vaccine, it produces an immune response without causing the disease itself. Instead of treating a disease after its occurrence, a vaccine will prevent it from happening in the first place.

What are the approved vaccines for individuals coming from outside the Kingdom?
  1. Pfizer-BioNTech (two doses). 
  2. Oxford-AstraZeneca (two doses). 
  3. Moderna (two doses). 
  4. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) (single dose).

Based on the recommendation of the National Committee for Infectious Diseases, people who have received two doses of the “Sinopharm” or “Sinovac” vaccines can be allowed into the Kingdom, provided that they receive a booster dose of one of the above-mentioned approved vaccines in the Kingdom. The same conditions apply to approving immunization certificates.

Which vaccines are currently available in the Kingdom? 
  1. Pfizer-BioNTech (two doses).
  2. Oxford-AstraZeneca (two doses).
  3. Moderna (two doses).

How will I get vaccinated? How many doses do I need?
The vaccine is given by injection into a muscle. Two doses of the vaccine are received 3 weeks apart.

Tips before you get vaccinated:
  • Tell your doctor if you have a medical condition before you take the vaccine. This includes a fever, or any other symptoms. It helps determine whether or not you can get vaccinated as your body deals with these symptoms. 
  • Inform your doctor of your medical history in detail, and whether you have a chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma, and how well this disease is controlled, as well as your current treatment plan.
  • Tell your doctor about any allergic reactions you have had to any of vaccinations you have previously received.

Tips after you get vaccinated: 
  • Monitor your condition to see if any side effects come up and make sure you record them as soon as they appear for 7 days after receiving the vaccine.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle, avoiding anxiety and stress to boost immunity (e.g. Eating healthy, drinking a lot of water and getting enough sleep). 
  • Continue to follow the recommendations of MOH and adhere to the precautionary measures to protect yourself and others.

How much time is needed between the two doses of the vaccine? 
According to the current recommendations, you can take the second dose of the Coronavirus vaccine at least three weeks after taking the first one. The first dose does not lose its effect if the period is longer, and a repeat dose isn’t required. 

Can I receive two doses of two different vaccines? 
You can take two doses of two different Coronavirus vaccines, according to international scientific studies that showed that two doses of two different vaccines can be safe and effective in fighting the virus. The second dose of the virus would still serve the desired purpose. 

Which age groups are allowed to receive the vaccine?
  • Pfizer - Moderna: Age 12 or older. 
  • Other vaccines: Age 18 or older.
The date is calculated as per the Gregorian calendar. 

What is the difference between the vaccines in terms of effectiveness and prevention?
Scientific studies and experiments have proven that the vaccines are similar in terms of effectiveness and protection against the virus. 

Common side effects: 
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, and headaches. 
  • Injection site pain. 
  • Muscle pain and feeling unwell. 
  • Fever and chills. 

Most side effects are mild to moderate, occur within the first three days of vaccination, and disappear within one to two days. If symptoms persist for more than 5-7 days, it is recommended to see a doctor to get the necessary tests done.

How to alleviate the symptoms: 
  • Take paracetamol to relieve headache, muscle aches, fever, and feeling tired.
  • Place a cold compress on the injection site to relieve pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Monitor the side effects. Contact your healthcare provider if there is a cause for concern.

Does having no side effects indicate the ineffectiveness of the vaccine? 

The severity of side effects varies from one person to another, and symptoms do not necessarily appear. 

Who should avoid taking the vaccine? 
  • People with anaphylaxis to the vaccine or one of its components (after the first dose). 
  • People under the age of 12. 
  • People with a fever of 38.5 °C or higher (their vaccination should be postponed). 

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women? Should pregnancy be postponed after receiving the vaccine?
Based on recent scientific studies and recommendations, it is safe for pregnant woman to take the vaccine. There is also no need to postpone the pregnancy after taking the vaccine. It is also believed that the vaccine poses no risk to breastfeeding. Moreover, it is recommended to give breastfeeding mothers the vaccine if there are no contraindications.

Does the novel Coronavirus vaccine cause infertility?
There is no link between the Coronavirus vaccine and infertility.

Does the vaccine affect the menstrual cycle? Can women get the vaccine while on their periods?
There is no evidence to support the theory that the Coronavirus vaccine affects the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, menstruation is not a contraindication to receiving the vaccine.

What is the link between the Coronavirus vaccine and 7th nerve palsy?
There is no link between the Coronavirus vaccine and 7th nerve palsy. Generally, 7th nerve palsy has not been classified as a side effect of the vaccine in phase 3 of clinical trials. 

Is it true that the composition of the vaccine affects the DNA which affects genetic traits and genes?
Not true.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine have contraindications with other vaccines? 
Due to the lack of data on how the vaccine reacts with other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine should be given alone, with a minimum period of 14 days before or after other vaccinations.

I am allergic to some medications, should I still take the vaccine?
Having an allergic reaction to some drugs is not considered a contraindication to getting vaccinated. In general, people who have a known hypersensitivity to the vaccine or one of its components (after the first dose) should avoid taking it. As for other severe allergies, there are a number of caveats under which the vaccine can be taken.

Is penicillin allergy a contraindication?
Penicillin allergy is not considered a contraindication.

I am allergic to some foods, should I still take the vaccine?
Food allergy is not considered a contraindication.

Is it safe to take the vaccine while taking certain medications like antibiotics, acne treatments, etc.? 
It is safe. However, patients who take anticoagulants can receive the vaccine and monitor their bodies for 30 minutes afterwards. They must also ensure that the injection site is free of bleeding before leaving the vaccination place. It is essential for these patients to get the advice of their doctors and follow their recommendation of whether they should receive the vaccine or not.

Can patients who take blood thinners and have hemorrhagic diseases take the vaccine? 
Patients who take anticoagulants, have a hereditary hemorrhagic disease, or are suspected of having severe thrombocytopenia (less than 10,000 blood platelets) can be vaccinated. However, they should monitor their bodies for 30 minutes afterwards. They must also ensure that the injection site is free of bleeding before leaving the vaccination place. It is essential for these patients to get the advice of their doctors and follow their recommendation of whether they should receive the vaccine or not.

Can cancer patients and immunocompromised patients receive the vaccine?
Patients who are immunocompromised or taking immunosuppressive drugs are at a higher risk of developing severe Coronavirus. They can receive the vaccine if there are no contraindications, as its benefits beat its disadvantages. They must continue to follow the precautionary measures after getting vaccinated.

Can I take the vaccine while on cortisone? 
Taking cortisone is not a contraindication to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. And getting vaccinated is recommended to be done under the supervision of the attending physician.

Is there a contraindication between contraceptives and the taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

Should I use an anesthetic before or after receiving the vaccine?
There is no connection between using local or general anesthesia and taking any vaccine, including the Coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective, and helps prevent the virus and its complications.

Can people with chronic diseases (e.g. Hypertension, diabetes, etc) take the COVID-19 vaccine? 
Chronic diseases are not a contraindication to receiving the Coronavirus vaccine.

Are asthma and chest allergies a contraindication to receiving the vaccine?
No, they are not. 

Is it safe for people with G6PD, sickle cell anemia, and celiac disease to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? 
Yes, it is. These diseases are not contraindications to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Should I get Botox or filler before or after the vaccination?
According to recently published studies, after receiving the vaccine, swelling in areas with fillers is possible. This is due to the high immunity against any foreign body. This local sensitivity is usually not severe, and goes away within a few days.

I feel unwell. Can I still take the vaccine?
Generally, getting the vaccine should be postponed if you have a fever (38.5 °C or higher). The doctor at the vaccination center should be informed of any symptoms you have before you take the vaccine. 

Can I donate blood after taking the COVID-19 vaccine? 
There are no scientific studies that determine the time needed between getting the vaccine and making a blood donation. Generally, since the virus is dead, you can donate blood before or after the vaccine if you're physically healthy. 

Vaccine and getting COVID-19: 
  1. If you get COVID-19 before you receive the vaccine: 
    • Individuals recovering from CO​VID-19 should receive two doses of the vaccine. The first dose can be taken at least 10 days after the infection occurs. Also, getting the second dose 3 weeks after the first increases protection against severe infection and mutants.
  2. If you get COVID-19 after the first dose: 
    • If you get COVID-19 after the​ first dose, you can get the second dose 10 days after the infection occurs.
  3. If I get COVID-19 after the two doses of the vaccine, do I need to take the vaccine again? 
    • According to the current r​ecommendations, you don't need to take the vaccine again. 

Vaccine and contact: 
Generally, you can take the vaccine after the isolation period if there is no sign of infection. On the other hand, if an infection is confirmed, you can get the vaccine at least 10 days after the occurrence of this infection.

Is it dangerous to take the vaccine if I was infected and didn't know? 
No, it is not dangerous. 

Is it possible to test positive for COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine?
The Coronavirus vaccine will not make your PCR result positive. If the result is positive, this could be due to exposure to the virus immediately before or after receiving the vaccine.

Should I keep wearing my face mask and adhere to the precautionary measures even after I take the vaccine? 
You should continue to stick to the precautionary measures, wear your face mask, and maintain a safe social distance until the pandemic is controlled. 

Will my immunity weaken after the vaccine? Do I need to self-isolate? 
You do not need to self-isolate after taking the vaccine because it does not weaken or compromise your immunity. The vaccine stimulates the body to form antibodies; however, you should continue to apply the general precautionary measures.

Will I become contagious after the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, but you should continue to stick to the precautionary measures. 

Can I get COVID-19 after taking the vaccine?
The chances of getting COVID-19 after the two doses of the vaccine drop significantly. This is why it is best to get the two doses as soon as possible and continue to apply the precautionary measures until the risks of the pandemic are under control. 

If I get COVID-19 after I receive the vaccine, will I need to self-isolate? 
The vaccine activates the immune system to produce antibodies that provide protection for the body by preventing or controlling infection. This does not mean that you will not transmit the virus to others, therefore, you should adhere to the precautionary measures and complete the necessary isolation period. 

If I take the vaccine and come in contact with a positive case, will I need to self-isolate?
If you come in contact with a confirmed case 14 days after getting the first or second dose of the vaccine without showing symptoms, it is not required to go into self-isolation unless you live with a large group of people. It is also crucial to keep adhering to the precautionary measures. However, if you show COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 
In general, diagnosing Coronavirus cannot be based on symptoms alone. You need to get a lab test. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Other symptoms may also occur in some cases, such as: Headache, sore throat, nausea or diarrhea, runny nose, loss of senses of taste or smell, and general body and muscle aches.

How is COVID-19 transmitted? 
COVID-19 can be transmitted from one person to another through droplets or by touching surfaces or products that are contaminated with the virus. The transmission of this infection depends on the person’s adherence to the prevention measures. If any of the aforementioned symptoms appear, contact us via the toll-free number (937) for medical consultations, ext. No. (4) to assess the condition, and advise you of the proper procedures to be followed.

How long should the isolation period be after coming in contact with an infected person? 
According to the current recommendations, if you had contact with a confirmed case at a distance of less than 2 meters for over 15 minutes, you should do the following: 
  • Stay in isolation, if you notice symptoms, for 10 days from the date of symptoms onset. Get out of isolation if the last 3 consecutive days were symptom free.
  • Stay quarantined for 10 days from the first day symptoms appear in the person who transmitted the infected to you, or from the time their first positive sample is taken. The duration of the quarantine can be shortened to 7 days if a negative laboratory test (PCR) result came out after the fourth day from the quarantine start.
  • If you contacted an infected person but haven't noticed symptoms and kept applying the precautionary measures, you can continue to go to work. But If you notice symptoms, immediately isolate yourself and get tested.

Do infected people always show symptoms? Is an infected person without symptoms still contagious? 
Once an infection is confirmed, the person becomes contagious, whether or not they show symptoms. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms varies from one person to another, depending on their health condition. Symptoms could be mild, moderate or severe, and some people may not show symptoms at all. 

What medications should I take if I have COVID-19?
Currently, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19, but when infected, you can relieve symptoms at home by following the tips below: 
  • If you have a fever, get proper rest, drink fluids to avoid dehydration, and take an antipyretic drug (e.g. paracetamol). 
  • Drink a lot of hot fluids to reduce throat congestion. 
  • Eat healthy food, increase your intake of immunity-boosting vegetables and fruits, and avoid unhealthy food.
  • If you have a cough, it is best to avoid lying on your back. Instead, lie on your side, or sit upright.
  • If you feel a slight shortness of breath, try to sit upright on a chair, relax your shoulders, inhale through the nose, keeping the mouth closed, and exhale slowly from the mouth. If the shortness of breath persists or worsens, call the toll-free number (937), or go to the nearest hospital.
  • Dietary supplements are not intended to treat or prevent infection; however, some vitamins and minerals may affect how the immune system works to fight infection. These include: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. They must be taken after consulting your doctor.

How long does it take to recover from COVID-19? When can a person (whether vaccinated or unvaccinated) socialize with others after being infected?
  • If a confirmed case has symptoms, recovery is expected to occur within 10 days, provided that the last 3 days are free of any respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, etc.) or a fever, without using any drugs. 
  • As for confirmed cases with no symptoms, recovery can occur within at least 10 days from the date of the first positive sample. In both cases, if you complete the recovery period, a laboratory test would not be necessary.
  • If symptoms continue to appear after 10 days, stay in isolation until they go away, provided that the last 3 days are free of any respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, etc.) or a fever, without using any drugs.

Can a group of infected individuals be isolated in one house? 
It is important to separate healthy individuals from infected individuals. A group of infected individuals can be isolated together in one room and share a bathroom. It is best to separate individuals who show symptoms from the ones who don’t. Apply all precautionary measures with confirmed cases. 

Will my PCR result remain positive after recovery?
The result of a (PCR) may remain positive even after recovery and the end of isolation. This is due to the presence of inactive, non-reproducible, and non-infectious COVID-19 remnants.

If I recovered from COVID-19 and contacted a confirmed case, should I self-isolate?
If you contact a confirmed case in less than 6 months since your recovery and show no symptoms, it is unnecessary to get quarantined, unless you live with a large group of people. You should also keep adhering to the precautionary measures. However, if you show COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested.
When will my senses of taste and smell recover after a COVID-19 infection?
  • Getting back your senses of smell and taste after a COVID-19 infection can be slow and difficult to predict. Studies indicate that many patients regain their senses of smell and taste within 7-14 days. In other studies patients regained their senses in 4 weeks.
  • Patients who do not regain their senses of smell and taste in 2 weeks should train themselves by smelling various smells and tasting a lot of flavors. This will act as a stimulation of the responsible nerve. According to a number of studies, training these senses can help their recovery. 
  • If I have COVID-19, can I exercise?
  • People with COVID-19 and no symptoms can continue moderate-intensity physical activity, while staying in home isolation to prevent transmitting the virus to others and monitoring symptoms. If symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath appear, you must stop exercising and contact your healthcare provider. 

How to sterilize homes after recovery?
After recovery, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, etc. You can use soap and detergents to clean the house as usual. You can use diluted bleach solutions, like chlorine, to sterilize surfaces. Use products that contain alcohol made for the purposes of cleaning surfaces. Ensure that the house is well-ventilated and wash all clothes with soap and water. Return to normal life while adopting the necessary precautions.

How long does the novel Coronavirus live on surfaces?
In general, the novel Coronavirus can remain alive on surfaces that have not been cleaned. It lives for few hours up to a maximum of 3 days, according to the information and studies published so far. Several factors affect the virus’s survival, such as: Temperature, humidity, surface porosity, etc.

When can I donate blood after recovering from COVID-19?
You can donate blood 14 days after your recovery, provided that you're eligible for a donation. 

Will a person who recovered from COVID-19 get infected again?
It is still unknown whether or not all infected patients form a protective immune response against the virus. Moreover, the protective period the virus results in with a preventive immunity is still being studied. Anyway, everyone must follow the preventive measures to avoid the infection. 

To obtain the service:  

Until sufficient information is available about the duration of the vaccine efficiency, and until enough people have received the vaccine, it is crucial to continue following MOH's recommendations and adhere to the precautionary measures to protect ourselves and others.
  1. Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine (Available only in Arabic)​.
  2. COVID-19 Awareness​.

Last Update : 30 August 2021 12:06 PM
Reading times :

All Rights Reserved – Ministry of Health – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ©