Thousands of expired Covid vaccines to be destroyed in Africa
Several African countries are set to destroy Covid-19 vaccines currently in circular as they have expired this week.
The vaccines were donated to these countries under the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) with the support of the African Union.
Malawian health officials have signaled they will destroy over 16,000 of the expired coronavirus vaccines.
102,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs were donated to Malawi last month but 16,400 were not administered before they expired.
“We have used most of the vaccines sent by the AU. On Tuesday, when they expired, there were only 16,400 left that had not been used, which will now be destroyed and thrown away,” Malawi’s health secretary Charles Mwansambo told AFP.
Less than half of the 530,000 doses donated by the Covax vaccine sharing facility, the African Union and the Indian government have been administered, official said.
In Ghana officials are also running out of time to administer the rest of the doses, state media reported.
Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority has advised that officials stop administering the vaccine on April 16.
There are still thousands of doses left, according to health officials who hope people can come in for them to avoid wastage.
Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said about 800,000 Ghanaians have been vaccinated against Covid-19 since the roll out of the mass vaccination exercise across the country on March 2, 2021.
Many African countries have had challenges rolling out proper vaccination campaigns as citizens still have concerns taking the jabs.
The failure to adequately educate people about the importance of taking the vaccines to fight the pandemic coupled with cynicism have led to low turnout for the doses in some countries.
Destroying thousands of doses of the vaccine at a time when some of these African countries are struggling to even secure more to protect their populations has been criticized by some health experts.
Last year the European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the bloc is not willing to share coronavirus vaccines with poorer countries including those in Africa.
According to Ursula von der Leyen the EU cannot share what it has for now until it has “a better production situation.”
She told Germany’s Funke Media Group that “There is quite a bit of pressure on member states to obtain the vaccine for themselves.”
Von der Leyen, however said the EU would support the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, which is intended to support developing countries secure vaccines.
So far over 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered to several countries especially in Africa.