Moroccan health ministry officials confident at efficiency of AstraZeneca vaccine
Several health ministry officials defended Morocco’s AstraZeneca vaccine choice after reports from France and Germany claimed that AstraZeneca jabs were ineffective for people aged over 65.
AstraZeneca had responded to such claims by maintaining that its published data from its clinical trials showed a significant response in over-65s.
Oxford University, which developed the vaccine with AstraZeneca, told the Financial Times there is “no basis for the claims of very low efficacy.”
The French and German claims emerged at a context marked by intense competition and high demand on AstraZeneca vaccines.
The EU lambasted the pharmaceutical giant for not delivering doses as agreed and waved export rules for vaccines leaving the Union.
On Friday, French president said the vaccine was “quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older.”
“I’m not sure where he got that from,” John Bell, a medical professor at Oxford University, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Program on Saturday. “I suspect this is a bit of demand management from Mr. Macron,” he said. “If you didn’t have any vaccine the best thing you could do is reduce demand.”
So where does this leaves Morocco? The North African country has ordered 25 million doses from AstraZeneca. So far it has received two million jabs of the vaccine from India/s Serum Institute, the biggest AstraZeneca consignment to reach Africa.
Since the start of the vaccination campaign on Thursday Jan.28, Morocco has vaccinated 90,000 people, according to figures disclosed Saturday evening.
King Mohammed VI kicked of the vaccination campaign by taking a dose of the vaccine. Morocco started vaccinating health staff over 40 years old, authorities, policemen, the army and the elderly.
In addition to AstraZeneca, Morocco received 500,000 doses from China’s Sinopharm.