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COVID-19 Vaccine

​​​Importance of COVID-19 Vaccine:

Immunization is a simple, safe and effective method of protection against diseases. It helps the body fight certain infections, and strengthens the immune system, by training it to create antibodies. With the speed and ease of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, and the fact that the majority of the world's population has contracted it, the vaccine becomes essential to protect against it. 

The vaccine allows the body to safely develop an immune response that provides protection by preventing or controlling the infection. This vaccine will allow some countries to lift their bans and reduce social distancing measures, which means that a gradual return to normal life will be possible.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccines reduce the risk of diseases by working with the body's natural defense for protection. When a vaccine is given, the immune system responds by:
  1. Recognizing the virus as soon as it enters the body.
  2. Produces antibodies (proteins that the immune system naturally produces to fight disease).
  3. Remembers disease and how to fight it.

Therefore, a vaccine is a safe and smart way to fight diseases. Once the body receives one or more dose of the vaccine, it produces an immune response without causing the disease. Instead of treating the disease after its occurrence, the vaccine will prevent the disease in the first place.

Why take the vaccine? 
There are two main reasons why you should take the vaccine: 
  1. To protect yourself; and
  2. To protect others around you.

Without the vaccine, we are at risk of contracting COVID-19, which can be life-threatening.

Target groups:
Target groups in first stage: 
  1. Citizens and residents who are over 65 years of age, plus those with occupations that make them more vulnerable to infection.
  2. People who are obese and have a BMI of over 40.
  3. Immunocompromised individuals, such as People with transplanted organs, or those taking immunosuppressive drugs.
  4. People with two or more of the following chronic diseases: Asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as those with a history of strokes.
Target groups in the second stage:
  1. Citizens and residents over 50 years of age, plus the rest of health practitioners.
  2. People with one of the following chronic diseases: Asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease including coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and active cancer, in addition to those with obesity and a body mass of 30-40.
Target groups in the third stage: 
All citizens and residents who wish to take the vaccine.
How safe and effective is the vaccine?
This vaccine is considered safe. It has successfully passed all testing stages, and caused a strong immune response and persistent formation of antibodies. The side effects of the vaccine are usually minor and temporary (e.g. injection site inflammation, mild fever or headache).

Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested through multiple stages of trials before it is approved for use. It also gets regularly re-evaluated. Furthermore, scientists constantly monitor information from multiple sources regarding any sign that the vaccine may pose health risks.

Always remember that it is better to prevent a disease rather than treat it after its occurrence.

The steps taken by the Kingdom to approve the vaccine are the official steps that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority adopts to approve vaccines. It follows strict international scientific methods in adopting vaccines that guarantee the safety of manufacture and supply, as well as the safety of the vaccine itself. 
Does the vaccine have side effects?
The side effects of with the vaccine are simple symptoms that do not go beyond pain and redness at the site of the injection with redness. It may also be accompanied by a slight rise in temperature. The health staff in the Kingdom is trained and can deal with the side effects associated with the vaccine in a smooth and safe manner that guarantees the safety of anyone that receives the vaccine.
Common side effects:
  1. Fatigue and headache
  2. Pain at injection site 
  3. Muscle pain and feeling sick
  4. Fever and shivers.  
How to alleviate symptoms?
  1. Take paracetamol to relieve headache, muscle pain, fever, and fatigue.
  2. Apply a cold compress on the injection site to reduce pain, redness, and swelling.
  3. Watch for side effects. If you notice a cause of concern, contact your health care provider.
Tips before you take the vaccine: 
  1. Tell your doctor if you feel sick in any way or show symptoms before receiving the vaccine (e.g. fever). This will help your doctor determine whether or not you can receive the vaccine at that time.
  2. Inform your doctor, in detail, about your medical history, and whether you have chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma), as well as the extent to which you have this disease under control, and the treatment plan you receive. 
  3. Inform your doctor about any allergic reactions you've previously had after receiving a vaccine. 

How to take the vaccine and its doses:
The vaccine is given by injection into a muscle (intramuscular injection). Two doses of the vaccine are given, three weeks apart.

Why taking the seasonal flu vaccine this year is necessary:
  • Influenza is active in the fall and winter seasons, and COVID-19 may also be active at that time.
  • If you are more susceptible to COVID-19, you are also likely to catch the flu.
  • If you have previously contracted COVID-19, it is best to get the flu vaccine, as it can play an effective role in preventing influenza.
  • The flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting sick from influenza, being hospitalized, and death.
  • Getting the flu vaccine provides healthcare resources for patients with COVID-19. 

The interval between receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine:
Taking the two vaccines at the same time is not a problem; however, you can leave an interval of 3-4 weeks between each vaccine. This will make monitoring the side effects of each vaccine easier and will prevent confusion.  

MOH has dedicated centers for providing the COVID-19 vaccine in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province. These centers are witnessing a high turnout by citizens and residents to obtain the vaccine, amid elaborate regulatory procedures and a smooth flow.

  • After receiving the vaccine: 
  • Side effects are monitored and recorded for 7 days after the vaccine is received. 
  • Patients should monitor their own health for malaise or any other health conditions, for 3 weeks after the vaccine

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes: eating healthy food, drinking enough fluids, especially water, getting enough sleep, and staying away from anxiety and tension to boost immunity. 

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 : 22 March 2021 02:34 PM
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