Morocco has ordered two COVID-19 vaccines, aims to order others, PM says

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RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco has placed orders for two COVID-19 vaccines that are in phase 3 clinical trials and is also in talks with other developers, its prime minister said on Tuesday.

The North African country expects a vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm to be approved first and plans to start rolling it out next month Saad Eddine El Otmani told Reuters in an interview.

It has also placed an order with AstraZeneca, which is conducting phase 3 trials, and is in talks with Pfizer, which has reported strong results in initial data.

"We will seek doses from three to four companies," El Otmani said, without saying how much Morocco expected the programme to cost.

"The vaccination campaign will last at least three months," he added

On Tuesday, Morocco reported 5,415 new coronavirus cases bringing total confirmed cases to 301,604 with a death rate of 1.6% and a recovery rate of 82.1%.

Morocco's tourism-dependent economy has been hit hard by the pandemic with the economy expected to contract by up to 7%, according to the International Monetary Fund.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi,; Editing by Bernadette Baum)