The Sunday Independent
Morocco leads the continent’s vaccination campaign
WITH close to 22% of its population already vaccinated against the coronavirus, the north African country of Morocco has become a beacon of hope on a continent that could potentially be left behind by the global vaccination train.
It has been 70 days since Morocco began its inoculation campaign.
With a population of around 37 million, Morocco has managed to vaccinate 8.3 million citizens to date, according to the latest figures by Our World in Data.
The per-person vaccination rate is higher than in some European countries that started a month earlier, but concerns are rising that Morocco’s vaccine supplies are drying up and the rate could slow, according to media reports.
According to The Independent, the country is using vaccines from AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm.
To date, Morocco has received a total of 9.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines – 7 million from AstraZeneca and the remainder from Sinopharm, according to reports.
International media reports say China will supply Morocco with 10 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine during April and May.
The demand to be vaccinated in the country is high, especially after citizens saw that no one suffered adverse side-effects from the jab, Morocco World News reported.
Experts say that what sets Morocco apart is that it was faster, stricter and more proactive in its vaccine roll-out campaign than other African states, as well as some European countries.
Morocco had a national strategy from the outset, with involvement from all institutions and stakeholders, down to the regional level.
Observers say that all it takes is a simple SMS and citizens know when and where to get their shot.
The country has recorded just over half a million infections since the coronavirus first appeared on its shores on March 2 last year, leading to 8867 deaths.
Morocco has the second highest number of infections on the continent after South Africa, which has just over 1.5 million infections.
The north African country seeks to vaccinate 33 million people, or 80% of its population, to achieve herd immunity.
Morocco World News reported that the country also provides free vaccines for foreign residents and expats living in Morocco.
The country has received praise from various quarters for its effective vaccination campaign, including nods from the World Bank and other countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), even though Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa are gathering pace, some countries have nearly exhausted their supplies just a few weeks into their campaigns.
Meanwhile, Moroccan authorities have discovered a new strain of Covid-19.
According to reports, the discovery was announced on Tuesday by Azzedine Brahimi, a member of the state-run scientific and technical committee tasked with managing the pandemic.
Brahimi said the new strain has appeared only in the Ouarzazate province and has had no effect on either the spread of the virus, the severity of the disease after infection or the immune response.