Official sources have disclosed to Reuters that one million COVID-19 vaccines expired in Nigeria in the last month. This is the largest vaccine loss in Africa.
Nairametrics recalls that less than 4% of over 200 million people have been fully vaccinated despite the public service message of the government to do so. A challenge that can easily be linked to bureaucracy and policy-induced bottlenecks associated with getting vaccinated in the country.
Why COVID-19 Vaccines Expired in Nigeria
According to the report, a recent rise in supply has created a new difficulty, as many African countries are discovering that they lack the ability to manage the volume of injections being delivered, some of which have a limited shelf life.
A source close to the matter told Reuters that the expired doses were made by AstraZeneca and delivered from Europe. They were distributed through COVAX, the GAVI vaccination alliance and the WHO’s dose-sharing institution, which is heavily reliant on donations.
According to another with knowledge of the delivery, some of the doses were delivered within four to six weeks of expiry and were unable to be administered given the timeframe, despite attempts by health officials.
It was also disclosed that the expired dosage count is still being researched, and Nigeria is doing everything it can, despite the fact that it is dealing with limited shelf life vaccinations.
“Vaccine wastage is to be expected in any immunization programme, and in the context of COVID-19 deployment is a global phenomenon”, the WHO said in response to the report.
Meanwhile, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency stated that the number of vaccinations received and used is still being counted and that its findings would be shared in the days to come.
According to the WHO, the significant vaccination losses are due to a lack of manpower, electricity, equipment, and finances, which has impeded rollouts. Experts worry that a rise in supply, consisting of millions of doses in the coming weeks, may further expose these flaws.