Terms, duration, cost, adverse effects of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine. The “Bab” magazine published by the MAP press agency sought answers to these questions from the director of population at the Ministry of Health, Abdelhakim Yahyane.
Where are the clinical trials for the Chinese vaccine?
Phase III of the clinical trials, part of which was conducted in Morocco with the participation of 600 volunteers, has just been completed and the data is being used in liaison with the Chinese side and all stakeholders.
What about possible side effects? Can we say that the vaccine is 100% safe?
Always be wary of rumors. All available data indicate that this is a promising vaccine and, to date, no major side effects have been reported.
When will the vaccination campaign start?
Coming soon. In the coming weeks.
How many doses are these?
I cannot give you an exact figure, but, to a large extent, it will be the first donation of 10 million doses ordered from the SinoPharm laboratory. This vaccine is in the form of pre-filled syringes and the vaccination schedule provides for two injections per head, 21 days apart. So we’re talking about about 5 million individuals who will benefit from the next vaccination campaign, based, of course, on the presumption of 10 million doses received.
How long will the mass vaccination campaign last?
We will make it as short as possible. The length depends on the rate of supply, the number of doses we receive under the first tranche, etc. Deliveries will occur when. Therefore, we cannot determine at this stage how long the operation will last.
How will this campaign be delivered at the regional level?
Each region will have their share of the vaccine depending on the target population identified. A map of the population to be vaccinated is established and it is on this basis that the campaign will take place in each region. Of course, in line with the Royal High Guidelines, priority is given to frontline staff, in this case health staff, public authorities, security forces and National Education staff, as well as elderly and vulnerable to the virus.
Will the vaccine be 100% free? How much did it cost the state budget?
So far, we have chosen the principle of free vaccine. In terms of cost, it is not yet precisely established because we are in a hurry to protect the health of the citizens. This is the top priority.
In the field, who will deliver this mass vaccination mission?
The operation will be carried out by all competent Ministry of Health executives and services, who are also used to conducting vaccination campaigns. It is, in fact, their core business, and an important advantage to our credit for the success of this national campaign.
What about the logistics aspect (transport, cold chain, storage, etc.)?
Unlike other vaccines, the one developed by SinoPharm does not need to be stored at very low temperatures. It can be stored between +2 and +8 degrees Celsius, in short, as a common vaccine. All the necessary logistics will be used: refrigerated trucks, insulated boxes, refrigerators … In short, the quality of the cold chain vaccine will be guaranteed.
Why choose these two suppliers (SinoPharm and AstraZeneca)?
As you know, today there is a global race for the acquisition of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine. Supply is very limited while demand is huge. Producers cannot present the whole world at once. In this context and in order not to have a problem out of stock, Morocco has diversified its suppliers, in this case SinoPharm and AstraZeneca. This was exactly the purpose of the agreements previously signed with these two groups by the Health Minister.
Will Morocco be able to manufacture the vaccine itself?
First, it will be imported. Local production will start soon. However, for the needs of the announced vaccination campaign, we will use the vaccine that will be sent to us from the production sites (China for SinoPharm and the United Kingdom for AstraZeneca).
What is the objective of the mass vaccination campaign? Is it to ensure collective immunity or to reduce deaths and serious cases?
The overall objective is to achieve collective immunity by reaching 80% of the population. But most of all, it’s about stopping the spread of the virus, dismantling the intensive care services, smoothing the health system and reducing deaths. At the same time, mass vaccination will help restart the economic machine because, of course, sick or cramped people cannot work, which results in a drop in productivity.
The proportion is therefore twofold: firstly, protecting the health of citizens, reducing the number of hospitals and staying in intensive care and reducing mortality and, secondly, revitalizing the economy because it will only be from the moment people are protected and reassured about their health that they will be able to participate fully and effectively in economic life.
The Ministry of Health has just launched a communications campaign on this massive vaccination operation. What’s the scope?
Above all, the aim is to combat fake news by raising awareness and encouraging them to take face-only information from official sources. The media has a key role to play at this point. Some electronic websites, by publishing information that is not sourced or attributed to anonymous sources, cause suspicion and confusion. Moroccan citizens should be wary of this kind of content and nurture the reflex of seeking the information, the real one, from official sources. In a way, you have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, but also against fake news that is no less dangerous virus!