A large quantity of Covid-19 vaccines will continue to go waste if Western countries keep on sending doses with shorter shelf lives, warned African CDC and its partners on Monday.Several African countries are destroying vaccines after they’ve exceeded their expiry dates.
Others are being returned by countries that are unable to use them before they expire with Namibia becoming the latest nation that announced more than 268,000 doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of being destroyed in weeks.
On Monday, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and COVAX issued a statement to draw the attention of the donors of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, particularly those supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, on the situation.
To date, over 90 million donated doses have been delivered to the continent via COVAX and AVAT and millions more via bilateral arrangements.
“However, the majority of the donations to-date have been ad hoc, provided with little notice and short shelf lives,” the trio said.
“This has made it extremely challenging for countries to plan vaccination campaigns and increase absorptive capacity.”
This trend must change in order o achieve higher coverage rates across the continent, and for donations to be a sustainable source of supply that can complement supply from AVAT and COVAX purchase agreements, they warned.
“Countries need predictable and reliable supply,” the agencies said, adding having to plan at short notice and ensure uptake of doses with short shelf lives exponentially magnifies the logistical burden on health systems that are already stretched.