Morocco to launch its coronavirus vaccine campaign in the coming days

“His Majesty the King has given His High Guidance for the launch, in the coming weeks, of a massive vaccination operation against Covid-19”

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Following the rise in new cases and an obvious necessity to reenable the global economy, “His Majesty the King has given His High Guidance for the launch, in the coming weeks, of a massive vaccination operation against Covid-19” according to a press release underlined by the Royal Cabinet on November 9. This directive aims to urgently launch a vaccination campaign that should reach the entire population over the age of 18 by the end of March 2021. In order to apply such policy, the first concrete step since the campaign’s announcement is finally taking place following the advisory commission’s opinion on January 4. Indeed, the Ministry of Health has just pushed the ignition button for the campaign on Wednesday January 6 for the emergency temporary use (for a period of 12 months) of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the AstraZeneca Laboratory and Oxford University under the commercial name “COVISHIELD”.

COVISHILED: a vaccine designed for a hassle-free distribution

The Swedish-British COVISHIELD vaccine has been used on a large scale since Monday in the United Kingdom – which has seen a sudden increase in new cases as well as a new strain of the virus in recent weeks – and has already been authorized in Argentina and India on December 30 and January 3 respectively. The COVISHIELD vaccine is aimed for the active immunization of people over 18 for the covid-19 prevention. This vaccine could be the first used by Morocco as part of the vaccination campaign, which should begin in mid-January according to a source close to the department of current Ministry of Health Khaled Aït Taleb.

Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, COVISHILED “can be stored and distributed at a temperature between 2 and 8°C, with an unopened vial validity period of 6 months”. This makes it a product particularly suitable for distribution and thus explains the choice of the authorities. It’s also important to mention that the vaccine will be imported as a finished product as the manufacturing and testing processes will be carried out in the Serum Institute of India (although the September 18 memorandum specified that the vaccine would be manufactured by the R-Pharm laboratory).

The vaccine’s administration specifications

With no surprise whatsoever, the vaccination process will necessarily shift firsthand towards front-line personnel, health personnel, public authorities, security forces and national education personnel; as well as to the elderly or weakened by concomitant pathologies.

According to the document released by the Ministry of Health regarding the authorization (posted by pharmacie.ma), the vaccination scheme consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml. The second dose should be given between 4 and 12 weeks after the first injection. The vaccine should also be administered using the intramuscular method (preferably into the deltoid muscle).

As a side note, Morocco has already chosen vaccines from Sinopharm alongside the COVISHIELD to vaccinate the population. In total, the kingdom has ordered 65 million doses of vaccine, including 25 million AstraZeneca vaccines.

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