By Our Reporter
MALAWI- SHIFTMEDIA- A total of 16 000 expired Covid-19 vaccines will be destroyed in Malawi, a health official said on Wednesday.
This comes amidst calls from the World Health Organisation (WHO) stopping African nations from destroying expired vaccines.
Malawi received 102,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs last month, but 16 400 were not administered before they expired.
The vaccines were donated to Malawi by the African Union three weeks before their use-by-date.
“We will now destroy and dispose of (them),” Malawi’s health secretary Charles Mwansambo told AFP.
Malawi launched its inoculation campaign in March with the aim of immunizing 11 million people, or 60 percent of the 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.
The sluggish rollout is partially blamed on low uptake due to vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccination rollouts have been particularly slow in Africa — the region least affected by the pandemic — where only around two percent of the world’s total number of shots have been administered to date.
The lag has been blamed on inadequate supplies, lack of financing, and logistical problems.
“Our vaccination programme is struggling to get off the ground,” said Malawi immunologist Gama Bandawe, suggesting the country could have used the expired vaccines.
Coronavirus cases surged in Malawi earlier this year after months of relatively low infection levels.
To date, the country has recorded over 33,800 cases, of which at least 1,133 have been fatal. -Additional Reporting by AFRICA CGTN- (Herald)