Nigeria will destroy around 1m expired COVID-19 vaccines, Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said on Monday (13 December), adding that his agency was working with drug regulator NAFDAC to set a date for their destruction.
Health minister Osagie Ehanire said last week that some vaccines donated by rich Western countries had a remaining shelf life of only weeks, adding to the countryʼs challenges in vaccinating its people.
Fewer than 4% of adults in Africaʼs most populous nation of more than 200m have been fully vaccinated, reports SABC News.
Shuaib said the country had been accepting vaccines with short shelf lives from international donor nations in an attempt to use them quickly and provide some level of protection for Nigerians, due to vaccine scarcity in the past. However, after a presidential committee decision, they would no longer accept vaccines with a short shelf life.
Last week, Reuters reported that around 1m COVID-19 vaccines were estimated to have expired in the country in November without being used.
Still, the World Health Organizationʼs vaccine director Kate OʼBrien said in a briefing on Thursday (9 December) that the proportion of wasted doses was smaller in countries receiving doses through COVAX than in many high-income countries.
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