Moroccans will be among the first in the world to have access to the vaccine, the health minister said.
Rabat – Given concerns and fake news about the COVID-19 vaccine Morocco has chosen to use in its upcoming large-scale vaccination program, the Ministry of Health is preparing an awareness campaign.
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb announced on Friday that his department will soon launch a communication campaign about COVID-19 vaccination to inform public opinion and prevent the spread of fake news on social networks.
On Monday, a statement from the Royal Office announced that Morocco will launch a campaign of “unprecedented scale” to vaccinate Moroccans against COVID-19.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani assured on Thursday that Morocco has chosen a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The official did, however, note the need for an awareness campaign to combat fake news and quell uncertainty.
A source of hope
Ait Taleb proudly said on Friday that Moroccans will be among the first in the world to have access to the vaccine thanks to King Mohammed VI’s proactive approach to the pandemic, according to Morocco’s state media.
After chairing a meeting of the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Influenza and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections, Ait Taleb said “the vaccine brings hope.”
He added that Morocco must prepare the “best sanitary arrangements” before the start of the vaccination campaign.
The presence of a COVID-19 vaccine in Morocco does not eliminate the need to respect health measures, he stressed, especially as one can only acquire COVID-19 immunity several weeks after vaccination.
COVID-19’s strain on health services
Morocco, like most other countries, urgently needs to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic given the strain on the country’s health services. The health ministry has already reported four new case count records in the first two weeks of November.
During Friday’s meeting, Ait Taleb took stock of the epidemiological situation and discussed the burden health services face in regions where the steady growth of COVID-19 cases is particularly daunting.
He highlighted the Casablanca-Settat region, saying there is a saturation of the health system with a 68% occupancy rate of intensive care services. It is necessary to make arrangements to limit the number of severe cases admitted to intensive care units, he stressed.
Health authorities do not want to adopt “painful” measures, Ait Taleb said, but if the situation does not change, “confinement will be automatic and compulsory.”
The minister emphasized that the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus requires citizens to realize the extent of the danger and approach reducing mobility seriously.
As part of efforts to enhance Morocco’s fight against the virus, the meeting’s participants also examined antigenic tests.
Abdelfattah Chakib, a professor of infectious diseases at the Faculty of Medicine of Casablanca, said such tests are important as they speed up the COVID-19 diagnostic process, making it possible to isolate and treat the sick before their condition critically deteriorates.
Moroccan officials are clearly confident in the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaign. However, citizens have yet to receive confirmation of the vaccine’s supplier.
The country has agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccines with Chinese, Russian, and British-Swedish laboratories. As well, American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, which declared Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine appears 90% efficient in ongoing Phase III clinical trials, has a factory near Casablanca.
The start date of the vaccination campaign also remains unknown to the general public.