Morocco expanded its COVID-19 vaccination campaign to children from Tuesday with 12 to 17-year-olds now eligible to receive their shots.
The North African country has administrated about 33 million doses to adults according to the World Health Organization and is now focusing its efforts on inoculating teenagers to ensure a safe return to schools.
“I chose to vaccinate my daughter because we want our children to be able to go to school,” said Fattouma Chouilakh, the mother of 12-year-old Aya Achouri, who received the Pfizer vaccine at Amr Alim Middle School in Rabat where she studies.
“We suffered a lot of problems with distanced education, there were no positive results,” Chouilakh added.
A total of 420 vaccination centres, including some schools, have opened across Morocco to vaccinate minors from August 31 to October 3.
The vaccine is not mandatory and parents are the ones deciding if their children will receive the shots.
Parents got it, so children also must get it because they have the risk of being infected too,” said Hassania Ouazghi, the mother of 12-year-old Nour El Houda El Karamssi, who also received the vaccine on Tuesday.
Those who do not want to vaccinate their children will not be allowed to send them to school and must instead follow a distanced education program, Ryad Solh, the head of the Amr Alim Middle School, explained.
The campaign, which will use the Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines, is expected to reach about 3 million Moroccan students, health authorities said.
The North African country has registered more than 856,000 coronavirus cases and 12,540 deaths linked to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.