RABAT – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered on Monday a massive vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in the coming weeks as the North African kingdom struggles to contain a rapid surge of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Moroccan monarch chaired in Rabat a working session devoted to the vaccination strategy against Covid-19, the Royal Palace said in a statement.
The meeting was part of the King’s continuous monitoring of the progress of the pandemic and the measures taken in the context of the fight against its spread and the protection of the life and health of citizens.
King Mohammed VI’s decision was based on the advice of the National Scientific Committee which stressed that the vaccination campaign was a real response to end the acute phase of the pandemic
The King did not set a specific date for the launch of the massive vaccination campaign against Covid-19, but Moroccan media said it would likely start mid-December.
The government extended an emergency decree to December 10 giving it leeway to restore restrictive measures in areas with high coronavirus infections, including the Casablanca region, the hotbed of COVID-19 infections.
Based on the results of clinical studies that have already been completed or are still ongoing, the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine have been proven.
The vaccination operation will have to cover citizens aged over 18, according to a vaccination schedule in two injections. Front line staff, including health workers, public authorities, security forces and national education employees, will get the vaccine first besides the elderly and people vulnerable to the virus.
Morocco managed to secure the supply of vaccine against Covid-19 thanks to the King’s personal involvement.
The North African country is taking part in clinical trials of the vaccine candidate developed by Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which has agreed to provide Morocco with 10 million doses before the end of the year if results are positive.
Health minister Khalid Ait Taleb announced told parliament last week the imminent arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine in December.
“All the available information we have tells us that a promising vaccine is expected towards the end of 2020 after reaching advanced stages of development," Ait Taleb told lawmakers.
“It is a vaccine ordered from the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm, of which Morocco will receive a batch of 10 million doses,” he added.
Coronavirus infections rose by 3,170 cases and a record 84 deaths in a day by Monday, bringing total confirmed cases in Morocco to 259,951 and the death toll to 4,356.