Morocco's COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been under preparation for several months.
Omar Zniber, Morocco’s permanent representative at the United Nations Office in Geneva, briefed on Friday the French-speaking diplomatic corps based in Geneva and the World Health Organization on Morocco’s national vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
In a meeting dedicated to discussing the evolving health crisis and the means to face it, the Moroccan ambassador told the officials in Geneva of the start of Morocco’s vaccination campaign. The campaign was launched on Thursday this week, with King Mohammed VI taking the first jab.
During the meeting, the Moroccan diplomat mentioned that even before the outbreak of the pandemic, Morocco was well aware of global health issues and was planning a conference in Marrakech on March 24-25, 2020 in cooperation with WHO, on emergency situations and how to respond to them.
Due to the global health crisis and its accompanying challenges, such as travel bans and other restrictive measures, the conference had to be postponed, Zniber noted.
Following the Moroccan official’s remarks, the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, encouraged other countries, especially in the developing world, to launch vaccination campaigns.
The WHO chief described vaccination as the surest means to fight against the fast spread of COVID-19 and its tragic health and economic consequences.
Ghebreyesus also underlined the importance of holding the postponed Marrakech conference when the global epidemiological situation allows it. He said such conferences are needed to draw lessons from the current health crisis and determine the necessary actions to deal with future worldwide crises.
Morocco’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 has been under preparation for several months. The country’s authorities announced the campaign in November 2020, and citizens and residents have since been anxiously awaiting its official launch.
On January 19, amid uncertainty about Morocco’s vaccination campaign, the country’s Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani said that the long delay was because the kingdom had still not received the vaccine doses it had ordered. El Othmani notably blamed the situation on “rich countries” paying up to nine times the normal price to purchase the vaccines.
The World Health Organization has also warned against the “catastrophic moral failure” to share vaccines, urging rich countries and manufacturers to spread doses more fairly around the world.