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China calls for «caution» on vaccination of people over 60 maintained in Morocco

Earlier in February, China alerted its partner countries to the use of the vaccine against the new coronavirus developed by Sinopharm, recommending particular «caution» regarding its administration to people aged 60 and over. While Cambodia has expanded the ban to several other cases, Morocco maintains it for all ages.

DR
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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen canceled his vaccination against the novel coronavirus, after the Office of the Economic and Commercial Advisor at the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh announced that the vaccine developed by Sinopharm should only be administered to people in the age group between 18 and 59 years old.

Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Post reported that as of February 5, Hun Sen said that as he was already over 68 years old, he would not be eligible to be inoculated. «The plan for vaccinations on February 10 at Calmette Hospital must be cancelled because I and most other senior officials are over 60 years old and cannot be vaccinated», he wrote.

Phnom Pen advocates proscription for cases of several diseases

Cambodian Secretary of State for Health Or Vandine said that while people over 60 could not receive the vaccine from Sinopharm, a study is also still needed to determine the effectiveness in people aged 18 to 59 years old. But Vandine added that people with allergies to vaccines, foods or drugs should not be vaccinated, regardless of their age. The same goes for cases of acute respiratory illnesses, asthma, eczema, urticaria, angioedema or other swelling.

«Other at-risk groups who should not get the vaccine are people suffering from pre-existing ailments, especially severe chronic diseases, pregnant and lactating women and women who are planning to get pregnant within three months».

Vandine Gold 

The same source also declares that cases of epilepsy or those exposed to different forms of convulsions, meningitis, mental disorders, hereditary diseases, Guillain-Barré syndrome, HIV, lymphoma, leukemia and cardiovascular diseases should avoid Sinopharm's vaccine. The latter would also be banned for «people with liver disease, cancer or having a history of Covid-19 infection», according to the health authorities in Phnom Pen.

Morocco maintains use among people over 60

In Morocco, the recommendations are different and the Ministry of Health recently confirmed the continued use of Sinopharm's vaccine in people aged 60 and over. However, «a note by the Chinese Embassy in Morocco, addressed to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs» urges Morocco to be  «cautious» when vaccinating «people over 60 years with the Sinopharm vaccine», Telquel reported.

The same source reveals that «the document by the Chinese representation was issued on February 3 and emanates from the Department of Asian Affairs and Oceania of the ministry and bears the stamp of the order office». For its part, the Ministry of Health has not officially commented on these recommendations, but it maintained the conclusions made on February 6 by the National Scientific Committee responsible for developing the vaccine strategy against Covid-19 in the Kingdom.

Contrary to China's advice, the committee permitted the use of the doses without any age restrictions. It believes that the immunogenicity of the vaccine has been shown to be «excellent» during the first two phases of clinical trials which included people over the age of 60, whether for the formula developed by Sinopharm in Beijing or in Wuhan.

However, the arrival of Sinopharm vaccines (500,000 doses) vs AstraZeneca (2M + 4M) calls for an adaptive strategy by reserving the Swedish-British vaccine for the oldest without taking any risk, pending more data on the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine for people aged 60 and over. As a reminder, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been validated by the World Health Organization for all ages.

On Thursday, Morocco announced the expansion of the national vaccination process against the coronavirus to include people aged 65 and over.

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