Several countries stopped the use of AstraZeneca vaccine after mounting concerns regarding its side effects.
Rabat – Tayeb Hamdi, a Moroccan doctor and researcher in health policies and systems, has recommended spacing the first and second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by a three-month period.
Beneficiaries of the vaccine usually take the second dose of AstraZeneca four weeks after the first dose.
The researcher also called for vaccinating former COVID-19 patients with the first dose from three to six months after infections.
“This dose will act as an immune reminder and strengthen the immunity produced by COVID-19, which will also allow vaccination among priority people.”
Hamdi said the approach will help in the vaccination and protection of more people in shorter periods.
With this method, “all countries will have to search for alternative solutions” to address the challenges to vaccine supply.
The researcher cited Morocco as a country with a “successful vaccine campaign.”
He said the North African country will be able to achieve the goals of protecting vulnerable population groups more quickly and will be able to avoid the risk of a rapid and general deterioration of the epidemiological situation due to new strains.
The health expert shared positive projections, saying such alternatives would be possible since sutides have shown the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.
“This effectiveness increases with the two doses being spaced apart byr three months,” he argued.
Hamdi cited other studies, confirming that people who were previously infected with COVID-9 produce quantities of antibodies from 10 to 45 times more than people who did not become infected with the virus after receiving the first injection.
The researchers emphasized the need to continue to respect all preventive and precautionary measures.
“The more we respect the preventive measures, the less the epidemic spread and the closer we get to achieving group immunity and the restoration of normal life.”
Recently, concerns mounted on the safety and effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after several countries decided to suspend its use for the elderly.
But Morocco warned against what it perceives as the spread of unsubstantiated claims or rumors against the use of AstraZeneca as the world still grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing the largely reassuring results from clinical studies, the country maintains that the Oxford vaccine should be part of vaccination plans to prevent yet another wave of infections. Earlier this week, Morocco’s National Scientific Committee issued its “scientific opinion” based on a study of the effects of this vaccine in Morocco.
Operating under the auspices of the ministry of health, the scientific committee said available evidence requires that Morocco continue using the vaccine.
As of March 15, the committee found, Morocco had administered 5,992,789 doses of vaccines, including 4,628,695 from Oxford/AstraZeneca, and 1,364,088 from Sinopharm.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani welcomed the progress of Morocco’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign and commended citizens, security teams, and all stakeholders who are contributing to the success of the campaign.