Exclusive: Up to 1 million COVID vaccines expire in Nigeria last month

DAKAR, Dec. 7 (Reuters) – To one million COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have expired in Nigeria last not used for a month, two sources told Reuters, one of the biggest single losses of doses die shows the difficulty African countries have making pictures in arms.

governments on the continent of over one billion people have pushed for more vaccine deliveries as vaccination rates lag in the richer regions, making the risk of new variants like the Omicron coronavirus spreading now over South Africa.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and home until more than 200 million people, less than 4% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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A recent rise in has offer caused An new problem, however: many African countries find that they don’t have the capacity to manage the recordings, some of die come with a short shelf life.

The expired doses were: made by AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and delivered from Europe, the sources with direct knowledge of vaccine delivery and use told Reuters. They were delivered via COVAX, the dose-sharing facility led by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and WHO, die becoming more and more dependent on donations.

a third source with knowledge of the delivery said what of doses came within four to six weeks of expired and could not be used in time, despite efforts by health authorities.

A count of the expired doses are still ongoing and a official number has yet to be finalized, the sources said.

“Nigeria is doing everything it can. But it’s… struggling with vaccines met a short shelf life”, one told Reuters. “Now (the offer) is unpredictable and they send too much.”

a spokesperson for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency – de body responsible for vaccinations in Nigeria – said the song of vaccines received and used are still being counted and it would share his findings in the next few days.

The WHO said the doses had expired, but declined until give a figure. It said 800,000 extra doses had been reached risk of expiration date in October were all used in time.

“Waste of vaccines is to be expected in any vaccination program, and in the context of The deployment of COVID-19 is a global phenomenon,” according to the WHO in a statement in answer Reuters’ questions. It says vaccines have been delivered with “very short” shelf life was a problem.

The vaccine loss in Nigeria seems to be one of the biggest of his kind over such a short period of time, even greater than the total number of vaccines die another countries in the region have received.

It’s not just in wasting vaccines, however.

About Europe, countries including Germany and Switzerland have struggled to use of doses. In January, officials in Britain predicted waste of about 10% of vaccines. In April, the health of France minister told local media die 25% of Astra Zeneca, 20% of moderna (MRNA.O) and 7% of Pfizer (PFE.N) vaccines were then wasted.


High vaccination coverage in Africa is vital to end the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, health experts say. Only 102 million people, of 7.5% of the Africans population, are fully vaccinated, according to the WHO.

shortages of staff, equipment and funds have hindered the rollout. An expected wave in delivery, consisting of: millions of doses in over the next few weeks, die further expose weaknesses, experts warn.

Nigeria’s Underfunded Health system lacks daily necessities like cotton swabs. spotty power delivery means refrigerators met vaccines need to be held on expensive fuel generators. millions of burgers live in areas ravaged by banditry of Islamic uprisings die unable to reach doctors.

“The foundation is not strong. And if you don’t have a strong one foundation, there’s not much you can do build on great,” said minister of Public Health Osagie Ehanire against a public forum last week.

The short shelf life of donated vaccines not help African nations.

South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, both desperate for doses, had to send some back because they couldn’t spread them in time. Namibia warned last month maybe it should destroy thousands of out-of-date dosages.

The situation only serves to widen vaccine disparities, experts warn.

“More than 8 billion doses have now been administered – the largest vaccination” campaign in history,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: on Twitter on Monday, marking a year ago this week since COVID vaccines became first administered.

“But all of us know that this is unbelievable achievement is marred by horrific inequality.”

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Reporting by Edward McAllister, Libby George and Stephanie Nebehay Additional reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh in Abuja Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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