Nigeria, Other Countries Turn Down Millions of Expired COVID-19 Doses

Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among over 30 countries that rejected a supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses due to their low shelf lives.

UNICEF, on  Thursday, said that in December alone more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the global programme COVAX were rejected by the countries.

The big figure illustrates the challenges of vaccinating the world despite growing supplies of shots, with about 150 countries receiving nearly 1 billion doses from COVAX.

Etleva Kadilli, director of Supply Division at UNICEF, told lawmakers at the European Parliament that though the main reason for the rejections was short shelf-life, poorer nations were also forced to delay supplies because they have insufficient storage facilities, including a lack of fridges for vaccines.

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Vaccine hesitancy is also a big problem in many countries and healthcare systems are overburdened.

Many others are being stored for use in poorer nations.

According to CARE, a charity that gathered the data from a public database, UNICEF’s data on vaccine supplies and use indicates that 681 million shipped doses are currently stored in about 90 poorer nations.

CARE estimates that poorer states, including big states like Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have used less than half of the doses they received.

In December, especially, a surge in deliveries contributed to the high storage levels, according to a spokesperson for Gavi, a vaccine alliance involved in the management of COVAX.

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According to Gavi, most vaccines recently shipped by COVAX have a long shelf life, so they’re not likely to go to waste.

Globally, COVAX has delivered 987 million COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries, according to Gavi data.

There are dozens of poorer nations that COVAX supplies doses to, but it is not the only one. A few countries purchase vaccines on their own or use regional procurement programs.

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