Riyadh, Jan 9: Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Saturday received the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Neom city.
Salman, 85, "received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine," the Arab News reported citing Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Ministry of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah thanked the king "who provided all types of support in the interest of citizens and residents since the beginning of the pandemic until this day."
Al-Rabiah added: "Today, the King received the vaccine in order to prevent him from receiving the virus, and this initiative affirms the Kingdom's policy is always prevention before treatment."
Saudi Arabia is the second country in the Gulf region after Bahrain to approve the use of the vaccine, which was developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The vaccination in the country will be carried out in three stages, the ministry of health said, with each stage targeting a specific demographic.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his brother Prince Khalid bin Salman, along with several other senior Saudi officials, have already taken the first dose of the vaccine.
While more than one million people have registered to receive it with more than 1,00,000 inoculated to date across the three vaccine centres in Riyadh, Makkah and the Eastern Province.
Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 363,000 novel coronavirus cases, including more than 6,000 deaths -- the highest among the Gulf Arab states.
But the kingdom has also reported a high recovery rate.