Morocco begins vaccinating citizens with chronic illnesses, allergies amid fear of third Covid wave

Morocco begins vaccinating citizens with chronic illnesses, allergies amid fear of third Covid wave
Due to fears of a third wave of Covid-19, the Moroccan health ministry has announced a vaccination programme for those with allergies and chronic diseases.
3 min read
30 October, 2021
Health ministry in Morocco launches vaccination programme for those with allergies and critical diseases (Getty Images)

The Moroccan health ministry launched on Thursday a new Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at citizens with allergies and chronic illnesses.

The move came following a meeting between the health ministry and officials from the epidemiology directorate, which concluded that in order to achieve herb immunity and avoid a third wave of the virus in Morocco, citizens with "special health conditions" must be vaccinated.

However, their vaccinations will take place at hospitals, where medical intervention can be provided if needed, rather than vaccination centres. They must also remain under medical supervision for half a day following inoculation to ensure that their health remains stable.

Earlier this month, the government announced it will be mandatory to present a vaccine certificate to use public transport and enter public spaces, like government buildings, cafes and restaurants.

Exceptional certificates were issued to those with severe or critical cases who cannot be vaccinated, but their numbers "don't exceed a few hundred", according to comments by the Moroccan Scientific Committee.

Those aged between 15 and 17 years old can now also receive their shots, Moulay Said Afif, a member of the national scientific committee in Morocco, told The New Arab, adding that there is no specific vaccine given and "all Moroccans are free to choose the vaccine brand they want".

Since the start of the vaccination campaign in January, Morocco supplied 61,365,660 doses of various Covid vaccines, including Sinofarm, AstraZeneca, Johnson, and recently Pfizer.

However, the Moroccan health authorities have stopped administering the Pfizer vaccine with the first and third doses this month, and its use has been limited to the second dose only.  

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According to the latest tally by the ministry of health, 24.1 million people have already received their first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 21.9 million are fully vaccinated.

This means over 57 percent of the Moroccan population is fully vaccinated.

Despite that, Moroccan health authorities fear a third wave will hit the health service and lead to country to collapse.

"If a third wave is to hit Morocco, we will witness what happened in India of people sleeping in front of hospitals dying from the lack of oxygen supplies," Afif said.

"We have a few thousand emergency beds and a modest number of oxygen supplies, that's why we are afraid and that's why we administered vaccination for children and people with allergies," he added.

The vaccine pass mandate in Morocco increased the vaccination rates in the country by 10 fold within a week, as unvaccinated citizens rushed to vaccination centres after the vaccine pass became compulsory in hotels, tourist establishments, restaurants, cafes, closed spaces, shops, sports halls and Hamams beginning from October, 21.

While many Moroccan citizens celebrated the mandate as a step forward to go back to normal, opposition leaders and Moroccan human rights groups questioned the constitutional legality of the compulsory pass and its outcomes on the freedom of citizens.