Malawi’s Health Authorities To Destroy Thousands Of Expired Covid Vaccines
Malawi’s Health Secretary Charles Mwansambo on Wednesday said the health ministry will destroy more than 16,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have reached their expiration date, after arriving in the southern African country three weeks ago, reported Africa News.
Mwansambo said some 16,400 of the 102,000 vaccine doses sent by the African Union (AU) were not used and got expired on Tuesday.
He said of the total 530,000 doses received in the country via the Covax scheme, the Indian government, and the African Union, all of which are AstraZeneca vaccine, 46% have been used so far.
“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 told AFP.
Malawi launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in March with the aim of inoculating 11 million people, or 60 percent of its population by year-end. 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 so far. The slow rollout is partially blamed on low uptake due to hesitancy in the people about the vaccine.
The rate of new coronavirus cases reported in Malawi surged earlier this year after months of relatively low infection levels. The country has recorded over 33,800 cases so far, of which at least 1,133 have been fatal.
Vaccination rollouts have been particularly slow in Africa where only around two percent of the world’s total numbers of shots have been administered to date. The slow rollout has been blamed on inadequate supplies, logistical issues, and lack of financing.
According to the latest figure published by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of COVID-19 infections in Africa surpassed the 4.37 million mark on Wednesday. The total death toll has reached 116,421.