RABAT (Reuters) - 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 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 Tuesday, Morocco had recorded 467,493 coronavirus cases, including 8,187 deaths and 14,483 active cases.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by Angus McDowall and William Maclean)