Morocco set to receive over 4 million COVID-19 doses in coming days

Morocco is expected to receive 4.2 million doses of three vaccines in coming days to carry on its successful vaccination campaign.

RABAT - Morocco’s successful vaccination campaign is set to continue unabated as the North African kingdom is expected to receive 4.2 million doses of three vaccines in the coming days, according to local media.

Morocco is diversifying its sources of supply to avoid interrupting its vaccination campaign during which 4,265,196 have already received their first dose of the vaccine while 2,593,204 people have received the second dose.

One million doses of Sputnik V, 2 million doses of Sinopharm and 1.2 million doses Covax (AstraZeneca made in South Korea) will be delivered to Morocco in the coming days, according to Medias24.

These deliveries will help ease the pressure on the country’s vaccine stocks amid slow vaccine rollouts worldwide which has triggered outrage over repeated delayed deliveries.

The European Commission's chief vaccine negotiator Sandra Gallina said on Tuesday the European Union will use all available means to secure COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca.

She did not elaborate on which tools would be used, but the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen has threatened a tightening of export controls on drugmakers that fail to comply with their supply contracts with the EU.

AstraZeneca said earlier in March it would aim to deliver to the European Union 100 million vaccines by the end of June, three times fewer than it had committed to in the contract with the EU.

"We intend to take action," Gallina told EU lawmakers, adding that the EU will use "all the tools at our disposal to get the (AstraZeneca) doses".

"It's a shame, it's reputational damage," Gallina said and noted that only one of the five vaccine-production plants listed in the EU contract with AstraZeneca was delivering vaccines to the EU.

Morocco’s order of the AstraZeneca vaccine represents just over a third of its total order. That's 25.5 million doses out of the 66 million ordered. Of this quantity, 6 million AstraZeneca doses were delivered.

The North African country received only 2.5 million Sinopharm doses out of the more than 40 million doses despite taking part in the Chinese vaccine’s clinical trials.

These constraints pushed Morocco to authorise Russia’s Sputnik vaccine to compensate fot the delivery delays of other vaccines.

For an observer who knows the twists and turns of the negotiations, now that the Russian vaccine has been authorized in Morocco, "it is likely that Sinopharm will accelerate the pace of its deliveries". This means that geopolitical issues are the key words of this race towards the vaccine and even sometimes manage to obscure health issues.

Morocco seeks to vaccinate 80% of its population as it continues to ease coronavirus restrictions, allowing public baths and fitness clubs to reopen.