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Saudi Arabia approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Saudi Arabia approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Saudi Arabia’s regulator, The Food and Drug Authority (FDA), gave the green light to use of the Pfizer-BioNTech novel virus vaccine. The kingdom becomes the second Gulf country after Bahrain to approve the drug against the novel pathogen, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

In its efforts to curb the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia on Thursday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. “The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA)… has approved the registration of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement reads.

Amid the non-stop pandemic, the Saudi health authorities can import and use the vaccine. The idea to start the mass vaccination could be realized now, while the SFDA said it will analyse samples from “each incoming vaccine shipment before using it” to ensure quality standards.

The Saudi regulator did not specify when it would begin the rollout of the vaccine by US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, according to LiveMint.

Last week, Bahrain, Canada, and the United Kingdom have also approved anti-virus drug, while Russia has already started the mass vaccination, the first in the world.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is waiting for approval in the US

In the United States, its Food and Drug Administration is due to meet on Thursday to assess the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency approval. So far, the US remain the worst-hit nation with more than 15 million known infections and close to 290,000 deaths.

The US regulator is likely to issue an allergy warning if it approves the drug, following the UK’s lead, after two health care workers there suffered reactions and needed treatment.

Saudi Arabia has so far recorded nearly 360,000 novel coronavirus cases, including more than 6,000 deaths — the highest in the Gulf. But the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate.

Over the ten months, the pharmaceutical firms have been racing to find a vaccine for the virus, which has taken lives of over 1.5 million people and infected more than 68 million since last December.