RABAT - King Mohammed VI will on Thursday order the start of the national vaccination campaign against coronavirus, said the Royal Cabinet in a statement.
“Following receipt of different batches, the vaccine against the COVID-19 virus is available in the Kingdom of Morocco, in sufficient quantity to start the national vaccination campaign in the best conditions,” said the Royal Palace.
Morocco received on Wednesday half a million doses of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine as it prepares to be the first African country to roll out a national immunisation campaign.
The consignment is the second batch to arrive in Morocco after 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India’s Serum Institute.
The Palace said that the vaccination campaign will be free for all citizens in accordance with the King’s instructions.
“It will take place gradually and in installments and will benefit all Moroccan citizens and residents whose age varies between 17 and over 75 years old,” it added.
The government has announced that it will first start vaccinating health, security, and teaching staff this week and has launched a website for other people to register for the vaccine.
The country signed a deal with Sinopharm in August which involved conducting clinical trials in Morocco as well as announcing plans to set up a production plant.
King Mohammed VI and China’s President had also discussed vaccine cooperation and in September Morocco agreed a deal to buy AstraZeneca vaccine doses.
Morocco plans to vaccinate 25 million people, or 80% of its population, within three months.
However, with increasing global competition for vaccine doses, Morocco’s ability to roll out a widescale national programme depends on a steady flow of supply, health ministry officials said.
By Wednesday, Morocco had recorded 468,383 coronavirus cases, including 8,207 deaths.