Leading Spanish daily La Razon hailed the success of Morocco’s COVID-19 response as the EU’s own plan falls further and further behind schedule.
Rabat — Madrid-based daily newspaper La Razon christened Morocco a “miracle country” for the notable success of its COVID-19 vaccine campaign in an article published Wednesday.
The report, titled “Morocco has already vaccinated almost as many people as Spain and in one month less,” hailed Morocco’s robust vaccination plan as the “most advanced in Africa” and one of most successful in the world.
La Razon quantified that over four million Moroccans have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine since January 29. Morocco’s vaccine rollout trails Spain’s by only a couple hundred thousand doses, despite having launched over a month later than its Spanish counterpart.
The article notes that Morocco’s COVID-19 vaccine drive prioritizes the elderly, medical personnel, police, and teachers and that the injections are free of cost.
To date, Spain has inoculated over 4.8 million people against the coronavirus since launching its vaccination campaign on December 27.
The European country, which has thus far vaccinated just over 10% of its residents, ranks 14th in the world for total doses administered and 29th for the percentage of its population vaccinated. Spain’s current figures float slightly above the EU average.
The European Union’s wobbly COVID-response plan has come under fire recently as vaccine deliveries run behind schedule and EU-promised coronavirus relief has yet to kick in.
Many dissidents are encouraging member states to abandon the EU strategy and to seek vaccine sources outside Brussels.
At least six EU countries — Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic — have already broken ranks, procuring inoculations outside Europe and criticizing the Commission for “not having its act together.”
EU officials have encouraged member states to stay the course. “The production and delivery of vaccines is a project that comes with a lot of obstacles,” Commission Spokesperson Stefan De Keersmaecker said. “I think we have developed a successful vaccine strategy.”
Many EU leaders disagree. “The EMA is too slow,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said of the Commission-backed European Medical Agency. Austria is currently in the early stages of a plan to jointly develop vaccines with Denmark and Israel.
As for Spain, the EU’s trajectory falls dangerously short of the country’s needs.
Should the current rate of vaccination continue, the country is on track to vaccinate only 40% of its adults by the end of the summer, far short of the 70% threshold experts recommend for herd immunity.
In January, Spanish newspaper El Mundo leaked documents indicating the Spanish health ministry faulted EU mismanagement for the continent’s short supply of vaccines.
Responding to the leak, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya later reaffirmed that “Spain fully trusts that the European Commission will know how to defend the interests of all member states, in terms of both vaccine acquisition and handling of contracts with pharmaceutical (companies).”
The government hopes that its vaccination pace will pick up in April, when more vaccines become available.