Moroccan officials have still not confirmed which company or companies will be supplying the country with COVID-19 vaccines.
Rabat – Morocco is reportedly preparing to welcome a first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China within the next month.
Moroccan outlet Hespress, citing informed sources, reported on Monday that the North African country will schedule 10 flights throughout December to bring 10 million doses of the vaccine from China.
As Moroccan officials explained on November 9, the first stage in the country’s vaccination campaign will initially 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 Moroccan population aged 18 and older will benefit from the COVID-19 vaccine after health authorities serve people at high risk.
Hespress’ sources said five million people will receive COVID-19 vaccines during the first stage of the campaign because the doses from the Chinese company will arrive in Morocco gradually.
The report follows the statements of Azeddine Ibrahimi, the director of the biotechnology laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rabat, who said last week that 10 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in Morocco.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani also assured the public last week that Morocco chose a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for the upcoming vaccination campaign, under the guidance of King Mohammed VI.
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb followed up El Othmani’s statement, saying that Morocco will soon launch an awareness campaign to ease concerns and debunk fake news about the vaccination initiative. He added that thanks to the King, Moroccans will be among the first in the world to receive vaccines against the novel coronavirus.
Neither officials, however, confirmed which company or companies will supply the vaccines to Morocco. The two pharmaceutical companies closest to receiving post-Phase III trials authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines are Pfizer and Moderna.
Morocco 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.
In August, Morocco signed two partnership agreements with the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm (CNBG) in the field of clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine. Ait Taleb said Morocco’s participation in the trials aims to guarantee “self-sufficiency” in terms of COVID-19 vaccine production.
Sinopharm is still awaiting regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine but has already begun administering thousands of doses in China and abroad with “promising results.”
The UAE, for example, began advancing its initial vaccination program in mid-September using the Sinopharm vaccine.
Like Morocco, the country is participating in the third phase of the clinical trial of the Sinopharm vaccine. The UAE has vaccinated frontline medical workers and senior officials, including Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.