Not only is Morocco at the forefront of Africa in vaccination rates, but it has also crept into the top ten countries in the world on its own merits. The figures are, of course, spectacular. The campaign started at the end of January and, today, almost 12 percent of the population has already received the first dose and about seven percent have received the full guideline.
Only Malta, among all the countries of the European Union, has a better percentage of fully vaccinated than Morocco. And all this without being part of a large negotiating bloc and without resorting (excessively) to Chinese and Russian vaccines. In fact, of the eight million vaccines that Morocco has obtained, seven are from AstraZeneca and only one is from Sinopharm. How have you achieved this success?
Moroccan success, explained
Tayeb Hamdi, vice president of the National Health Federation of the Alawite country, commented in NIUS that one of the keys to the Moroccan response to the pandemic was that “they were lucky enough to see the difficulties faced by our European neighbors when the epidemic barely had arrived here “. This seems especially true in the case of vaccines because while the big blocks were trying to secure supply (as had happened with the rest of health products), Morocco decided to look to India.
And the truth is that it cannot be said that it was a risky decision. India is currently the world’s largest supplier of medicines and produces 60% of all vaccines in the world. Not only is it that the Indian industry has more than a dozen vaccines with its own technology under development, it is that many of the world’s big pharmaceutical companies were reaching agreements with the Asian giant to produce their formulations as soon as they were ready.
As an example, in October 2020, the Serum Institute of India already had millions of AstraZeneca vaccines in their warehouses waiting for them to receive the go-ahead. In total, IBS plans to manufacture 1 billion doses of this vaccine. A large part of which was destined from the beginning to nurture the “Vaccine Maitri” program, the indian movement to vaccine diplomacy.
That has been the ); although, from what we have learned these weeks, it can also become a bottleneck. Above all, if it fails to “diversify” its sources and the problems in India continue to grow.
Something they are working on. As the Moroccan authorities have explained in the coming weeks, they expect to receive one million doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine, two million Sinopharm and another million AstraZenecas vaccines produced in South Korea. They will be needed because they have a critical date on the horizon: April 12, the day Ramadan begins.
And it is that, although the intention of the authorities is to extend the restrictions and curfews throughout that month, it is assumed that there will be a rebound in the pandemic due to family gatherings and related religious activities. This, together with other problems of the campaign, can ruin a management that the country wants to use to reinforce the regime. Hence, reaching that date with the maximum number of vaccinated people seems the most reasonable strategy in the face of a foreseeable saturation of the health system.