Sigh of relief for Pakistanis as Saudi Arabia approves Sinopharm, Sinovac


RIYADH – Saudi Arabia on Wednesday approved China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, expanding its list of approved vaccines to six.

The Saudi Ministry of Health announced that there are a total of six approved vaccines against coronavirus in the Kingdom and they are Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BionTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

“In the event of giving approval to any other vaccines, it will be announced at the time through the official channels approved by the Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA),” the ministry said in a statement on its Twitter account.

According to the ministry, there is a possibility to accept the vaccination of those who have received two doses of Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines, provided that they have received a booster dose of one of the other approved vaccines in the Kingdom.

The development would help thousands of workers stranded in Pakistan as the Kingdom had not allowed entry travellers, who had received jabs of the Chinese vaccines.

The Chinese vaccines make a larger portion of Pakistan’s ongoing inculcation drive.

A day earlier, Saudi Arabia has allowed travellers from Pakistan to directly land in kingdom, easing travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

People, who have valid Saudi residency permits and have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Kingdom, will be able to take direct flights. Earlier, the travelers from Pakistan had to stay in another country for 14 days before entering Saudi Arabia.

The Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh has welcomed the decision.

In a tweet, it said: “The Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh welcomes the decision of the Govt of the KSA to allow direct travel from Pakistan to KSA, for those having valid Saudi residency permits, and who have received 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine inside KSA, before their departure from the Kingdom”.

Currently, the countries facing the travel ban include India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the report said.

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