Morocco blames suspected vaccine death on cannabis, tobacco

Moroccan health ministry blames suspected Covid-19 vaccine death on cannabis and tobacco addiction
2 min read
12 January, 2022
Morocco's minister of health said a recently vaccinated man had died due to complications derived from cannabis and tobacco addiction. His family had contended that a Covid-19 jab was behind his death.
62.5% of Morocco's population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 according to official figures. [Getty]

Rabat - Morocco’s ministry of health blamed the recent death of a 30-year-old citizen on cannabis addiction and post-tuberculosis complications. Suspects had been raised that a Covid-19 jab could have caused his passing.

“The Moroccan Center of Anti-Poison and Pharmacovigilance (CAPFM) investigated this case, and it is related to a young man who was previously exposed to tuberculosis and addicted to smoking and cannabis,” said Khaled Ait Taleb, Morocco’s Minister of Health and Social Protection, during Friday's parliamentary question session.

The 30-year-old man received his first jab on October 29. He died of a stroke four days later, after experiencing continuous diarrhea, migraine and intense pain, according to his family. His relatives brought the case to the media's attention, prompting the government to launch an investigation.

Morocco’s vaccination centers offer AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinopharm and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. As the ministry investigates suspected vaccine-related deaths, it tends to not disclose the names of the pharmaceutical companies involved.

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Dr. Tayeb Hamdi, the president of the Moroccan National Syndicate of General Medicine, told The New Arab that, in his view, explaining suspected vaccine deaths drawing on singular cases and limited medical data is simply “absurd”.

“Addiction, tuberculosis, stroke are vague terms that cannot prove or disprove the vaccine’s connection with death,” said Dr Hamdi, “if we want to ascertain the accuracy of vaccine-related cases we need an advanced digital, logistical and analytical system that records and monitors the medical conditions of every person after inoculation.”

Few AstraZeneca-related deaths and Johnson and Johnson-linked complications were recorded last year worldwide. Medical experts argue however that the Covid-19 death rate, which has exceeded five million people worldwide, leaves us with no choice but to embrace the one in a million chance of a vaccine death.

Around 23.1 million out of Morocco's 36.9 million population (62.5%) are fully vaccinated (two doses) according to official figures, although the remaining Moroccans include children under the age of 12 who are not part of the target group. No more data is publicly available about the exact size of the target group.

Although the vaccine pass has been mandatory in all public and private places in the kingdom since October last year, the National Scientific Committee told The New Arab that more than five million Moroccans from the target group remain unvaccinated. Personal freedom and fear of side effects are the main reasons people are reluctant to receive the jabs.