Uncertainty persists as Saudi adamant on Sinopharm disapproval

Doctors still unsure about aftereffects of mixing vaccines

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)
AMMAN — Saudi Arabia’s exclusion of China’s Sinopharm, from its list of eligible COVID-19, vaccines continues to stand in the way of Jordanians hoping to visit the kingdom.اضافة اعلان

The Sinopharm vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization, has been widely distributed in Jordan.

Amal Mohammad, a 54 year-old mother was planning to visit Saudi Arabia to see her son, told Jordan News: "I have already taken the Sinopharm vaccine. Back when I took it, I did not know that Saudi Arabia had not approved it.”

She continued: “Had I known, I would not have taken it, especially because I used to visit (Saudi Arabia) twice a year before the pandemic."

The exclusion of Sinopharm also comes as another blow to travel agents.

In June, Saudi Arabia set the cap for pilgrims allowed to perform Hajj this year at 60,000, all of whom must be residents of the Arab Gulf country and have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacts its Saudi counterpart on a daily basis to find the most viable solution," said a government source in remarks to Jordan News.

 "We hope to arrive a solution that satisfies all parties soon, especially because the two countries have shared strong fraternal relations for such a long time,” the source added.

The Ministry of Health’s Secretary General for Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases and the official in charge of the coronavirus file, Adel Belbeisi, said recently in media statements that those who were previously given the Sinopharm vaccine and wish to travel to Saudi Arabia will be given another vaccine recognized there, adding that studies are ongoing to understand the effects of mixing two different vaccines. 

Belbisi's statement garnered responses from prospective travelers to Saudi Arabia and physicians, some of whom expressed their concern about the uncertainty surrounding the combining of COVID vaccines.

"Those vaccines are still new. We are still not sure about their components. Personally I do not prefer mixing vaccines, especially because some bodies may experience complications when mixing vaccines," said Isaac Tawil, a veteran cardiologist at the Royal Medical Services.  

"Some of my patients felt really tired after taking a jab of a certain vaccine," Tawil explained.

 "How might they fair if they take another jab of another vaccine? I guess that the decision to mix vaccines should apply only to certain people of certain ages, and whose bodies are healthy and can tolerate mixing two different kinds of vaccines," he elaborated.

Health Minister Firas Hawari, announced last week that Jordan will launch a platform for citizens who have taken vaccines that are not recognized by other countries, pending a solution. 

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