Despite the official’s assurances, the question still remains of the supplier of Morocco’s COVID-19 vaccines.
Rabat – Morocco has chosen a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for its upcoming large-scale vaccination campaign, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said Thursday.
On Monday, a statement from the Royal Office announced that Morocco will launch a campaign of “unprecedented scale” to vaccinate Moroccans against COVID-19.
The campaign will target citizens aged 18 and over and 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 Royal Cabinet’s announcement, however, left many Moroccans with unanswered questions and concerns about the safety and origins of the vaccine that medical personnel will administer.
Questions amplified when the director of the biotechnology laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rabat, Azeddine Ibrahimi, said on Tuesday that 10 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available as part of Morocco’s campaign.
El Othmani’s statement on Thursday came to assure Moroccans that the vaccine the country has chosen for the campaign is safe and effective.
The head of the government also urged Moroccans to remain vigilant and continue to respect health measures—just because Morocco will have a COVID-19 vaccine, this does not mean the pandemic is over.
“Having the vaccine should not lead to nonchalance and relaxation,” he stressed. “We must all respect the preventive measures taken by the health and security authorities.”
The Moroccan official recalled that the working session King Mohammed VI chaired on Monday at the Royal Palace in Rabat was devoted to the COVID-19 vaccination strategy. This was part of the monarch’s regular monitoring of Morocco’s efforts to fight the virus.
“The Moroccan choice of vaccine is based on safety and efficacy, two fundamental criteria, knowing that the clinical trials have so far proven that the vaccine meets both conditions,” El Othmani said in a statement that Government Spokesperson Saaid Amzazi read on his behalf.
He added that Morocco is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has selected several vaccines through its COVAX program aimed at enabling equitable distribution of vaccines on a global scale. As well, the National Scientific Commission is monitoring all the clinical studies in which Morocco is taking part.
“The Moroccan choice of vaccine is well-founded and is not fortuitous,” El Othmani underlined.
Along with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Morocco will also launch an awareness campaign to educate Moroccans on the basics, guidelines, and modus operandi of the chosen vaccine.
Morocco aims to ensure citizens’ adherence to the operation and guarantee a “collective confidence” in the safety and effectiveness of Morocco’s COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, the head of government urged Moroccans to maintain vigilance in the face of fake news. Trust official bodies that provide certified information through official media channels, not social media, he advised.
The head of government underlined that the epidemiological situation in Morocco is “worrying” as severe cases and deaths increase day by day.
On Thursday, Morocco hit a new record in daily new COVID-19 cases, confirming 6,195 in 24 hours. The country also reported 64 deaths.
El Othmani lamented the fact that more than 4,500 people in Morocco have died due to the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 has taken a “heavy toll, especially since we lose between 70 and 80 of our citizens every day and hundreds of others are in intensive care.”
Despite El Othmani’s assurances of the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine Morocco will use in its campaign, the question of the supplier still remains.
The country signed several memoranda of understanding concerning COVID-19 vaccines in August and September and has agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccines with Chinese, Russian, and British-Swedish laboratories.
On Monday, before Morocco announced the vaccination campaign, American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer declared that its COVID-19 vaccine is showing to be 90% efficient in ongoing Phase III clinical trials.
There is no known agreement between Morocco and Pfizer regarding COVID-19 vaccines, but the American company has a pharmaceutical factory in the city of El Jadida, near Casablanca.