Morocco is set to launch a national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 “in the upcoming weeks,” a statement from the Royal Office announced today.
The campaign of “unprecedented scale” aims to make a large part of the Moroccan population immune to COVID-19 in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The ministry will base the program on the results of clinical studies that have proven the safety and efficacy of “the COVID-19 vaccine,” said the statement, without disclosing details about which vaccine Morocco’s health authorities will use.
On Monday evening, King Mohammed VI chaired a high-level meeting at the Royal Palace in Rabat to discuss the upcoming vaccination campaign.
Several senior Moroccan officials attended the meeting, including Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, Royal Advisor Fouad Ali El Himma, Minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Laftit, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, and Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb.
General Inspector of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) Abdelfattah Louarak, Chief of the Royal Gendarmerie Mohamed Haramou, Military Health Services Inspector Mohammed Abbar, and Director General of National Security Abdellatif Hammouchi also attended the meeting.
During the meeting, the senior officials shared a detailed update about the domestic epidemiological situation with King Mohammed VI.
The health minister also presented a report from the Ministry of Health’s scientific committee about Morocco’s upcoming vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
Prioritizing people at high risk
According to the Royal Office’s statement, the campaign will cover citizens aged 18 and over. Health authorities will schedule two separate injections for the beneficiaries.
The campaign will prioritize frontline workers, such as medical staff, public authorities, security officers, and education staff, as well as the elderly and people with chronic conditions. The rest of the population will benefit from the COVID-19 vaccine after health authorities serve people at high risk.
Morocco is “very well” positioned in the race for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, said the statement, “thanks to the initiative and the personal involvement of the Sovereign.”
During the meeting, King Mohammed VI gave directives to ensure the smooth operation of the large-scale campaign, in terms of health, logistics, and technology. He stressed the importance that vaccines be available in sufficient quantities.
The King also called for the establishment of a pre-registration system for the campaign’s intended beneficiaries. He concluded his instructions by calling on authorities to remain vigilant regarding the epidemiological situation in Morocco and to update the national vaccination campaign in light of new developments.
Morocco in the COVID-19 vaccine supply race
Today’s meeting came hours after American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer announced that its vaccine against COVID-19 is proving 90% efficient in ongoing Phase III clinical trials. The company said that based on “current projections,” it should be able to produce approximately 50 million doses of the vaccine in 2020.
While there was no initial agreement between Morocco and Pfizer about COVID-19 vaccines, the timing of the announcement could indicate a partnership in the making. The American company already has a pharmaceutical factory in El Jadida, near Casablanca.
Morocco has agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccines with Chinese, Russian, and British-Swedish laboratories. The country signed several memoranda of understanding concerning vaccinations in August and September.