AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Morocco will
start rolling out its mass vaccination programme at centres around the country
from Thursday.The country
received 2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, and 500 000 doses of the
vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm.The
government signed a deal with Sinopharm in August, which involved conducting
clinical trials in Morocco.RABAT – Morocco
will start rolling out its mass coronavirus vaccination programme on Thursday,
the royal palace said, the first African country to do so.

The North
African country has received 2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine,
manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and 500 000 doses of the vaccine
made by China’s Sinopharm. It began distributing them to centres around the
country earlier this week.

The palace
said vaccinations will be available to all Moroccans over the age of 17 but
that health, security and teaching staff will receive the first shots.

People can
register via a website for the vaccines, which will be given for free at 3 000
locations around Morocco.

Both are
conventional vaccines that need only ordinary storage requirements as already
used in Morocco, rather than the ultra-cold facilities needed for some other
shots.

Vaccine
cooperation

The
government signed a deal with Sinopharm in August, which involved conducting
clinical trials in Morocco and announced plans to set up a production plant.

King
Mohammed VI and Chinese President Xi Jinping had also discussed vaccine
cooperation. Morocco agreed to a deal in September to buy AstraZeneca vaccine
doses.

Morocco
plans to vaccinate 25 million people, or 80% of its population, within three
months.

But with
increasing global competition for vaccine doses, the country’s ability to roll
out a wide scale 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, with 13 995 cases still active.