The vaccination campaign continues its path

Thursday evening, there were 855,318 Moroccan citizens vaccinated among the priority people targeted by the Ministry of Health. In the days to come, there is no doubt that they will exceed one million and even more. Indeed, after the approval of the Indian government, Morocco received, from the Serum Institute of India (SII), a new delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Four million doses in addition to the two and a half million delivered at the dawn of the national vaccination campaign against the new coronavirus. Assuming that the health authorities have taken the decision, after all logic, to reserve the quantity of the precious serum available, for the injection of two doses, corresponding to complete immunity, in particular in order to avoid the pangs of a shortage of vaccines which also represents a permanent threat to the smooth running of operations, the six million doses currently in the hands of the government should therefore be used to vaccinate 3 million Moroccans, pending delivery of the 19, 5 million doses remaining. In a country where 471 new cases of contamination were identified Thursday in the early evening, figures, by the way, which in no way reflect, and fortunately, the relaxation of each other in the face of a virus capable of wreaking havoc as can be seen in Europe and South America, the vaccination campaign is more than ever crucial to stem an epidemic that has lasted too long. Especially since the strengths in the sleeve of AstraZeneca are more and more numerous. If the product from the Anglo-Swedish laboratory had a worrying start to the week, to say the least, things have been somewhat back to normal since yesterday and confirm the Kingdom in its choice. Even if in reality, it is too early to say so. Remember, at the beginning of the week, the South African government had taken everyone on the wrong foot by deciding to postpone the start of its anti-Covid vaccination campaign. In question, a study by researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The latter claims that the British vaccine is only 22% effective against moderate forms of the South African variant. In addition, several European countries have struck a blow to the image of the Anglo-Swedish vaccine by prohibiting its use to people over 65 in France and Belgium, and over 55 in Spain and Greece. From then on, we too were entitled to ask ourselves a few questions, especially since Morocco, for its part, decided not to limit the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 65 years of age. But that was before. Before the WHO got involved. The World Health Organization’s strategic committee of immunization experts met “to make provisional recommendations for the use of this vaccine,” according to an AFP report. “Particular attention will be given to the discussion regarding the use of the vaccine on older adults,” said WHO. Two days later, the committee did not go all the way when it came to the defense. of the viral vector vaccine, developed by the British laboratory AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. “People over 65 should receive the vaccine,” said the chairman of the expert group, Alejandro Cravioto, at a conference And that’s not all. In its recommendations, the expert group pointed out that the study carried out by South African researchers, was designed to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine against all forms of severity of the disease, “but the small size of the sample did not make it possible to specifically assess the effectiveness of the vaccine against severe forms of Covid-19”, we could read in the press release relayed by AFP. Consequently, “WHO currently recommends the use of the AZD1222 vaccine even if variants are present in a country”, specify the members of the expert committee in question. In short, to say that the WHO sees a good idea Eye AstraZeneca vaccine is largely an understatement. But why, knowing that its average effectiveness is currently evaluated at 70%, and therefore, that it is less convincing than those of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, whose efficiency exceeds 90%? Let’s say that these assets fit perfectly with the needs of the less wealthy countries of the planet. Besides its relatively low price, it uses traditional technology and above all, it can be stored in refrigerators and not in very low temperature. Therefore, it is more suitable for massive vaccination campaigns. “It is one of those vaccines that can be stored in ordinary refrigerators and it will therefore be very useful”, supported the scientific manager WHO, Soumya Swamina than. We do not doubt it. However, it will be difficult to sustain for a long time a vaccine whose effectiveness is subject to so many questions. We will certainly know a little more in the coming months. In the meantime, the vaccination campaign in the Kingdom is more than ever launched. Chady Chaabi