Saudi Arabia has become the third country to approve the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech after the UK began using the jab in a mass immunization program on Tuesday and Canada granted regulatory consent on Wednesday.

The approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 jab was announced in a press release by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority on Thursday afternoon. 

The regulatory authority claims that substantial reviews have been undertaken since data was provided by Pfizer on November 24. 

“The committee for registering pharmaceutical companies, factories and their products held a meeting to study the data and scientific reports, and after presenting and discussing the issue in all its technical and scientific aspects, the committee decided to approve the registration of the vaccine and allow its use,” the statement reads. 

It adds that the Ministry of Health will announce the date on which the vaccine is due to arrive in the kingdom, and it will commence vaccinations after completing import requirements. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab has already been approved for use in the UK and Canada, with British health authorities kicking off a mass immunization program on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a warning that people with a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not take the vaccine after two NHS staff members suffered severe reactions. Both are reportedly recovering well. 

Saudi Arabia has been among the countries worst afflicted by Covid-19 in the Middle East, but is yet to experience a second wave of the virus. 

On Wednesday, health authorities recorded 159 new infections and 13 deaths.

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