It has emerged that Nigeria has a large stockpile of out-of-date vaccines which has gone unused.
NIGERIA – Even with the COVAX scheme in place many African countries have yet to receive adequate supply of the Covid-19 vaccine. The scheme suffered some setback, failing to meet its commitment to supplying the third world with enough vaccines to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Part of the problem was to do with Manufacturers prioritising it’s supply to wealthier nations first and these Nations in turn were hoarding the vaccines until recently.
According to reports, Nigeria also received 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 3.6 million Pfizer doses from the US. Nigeria received 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK in August, and 800,000 from Canada in September, with a further 500,000 coming from France in October. Reuters reported that as many as one million doses according to the Reuters news agency.
The Nigerian health minister says they face logistical challenges due to the fact that the donated vaccines have been delivered close to their expiry date. For example the AstraZeneca vaccine can be safe to use for at least six months from the time of manufacture, under suitable conditions.
Nigeria’s health minister Osagie Ehanire said:
“That left us very short time, some just weeks, to use them, after deduction of time to transport, clear, distribute and deliver to users,” Because such vaccines can arrive back-to-back, he said, bottlenecks occasionally arise.
The government now has no choice but to destroy expired vaccines and going forward will now politely declines all vaccine donations with short shelf life or those that cannot be delivered in time.
Nigeria last month launched a mass vaccination campaign to encourage more people to take the vaccine
So far, approximately 3% of the Nigerian population have received two doses of the vaccines against Covid.