The African country discarded the injections, despite the shortage of serum and the low number of immunized in the region. When they were delivered, they had a few weeks until the expiration date.
The Nigerian government dumped 1,066,214 of expired vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca in a landfill last Wednesday. National authorities had warned that vaccines donated by Western countries had a few weeks before their expiration date.
Government officials and journalists witnessed the destruction of the drugs: several trucks loaded boxes with thousands of doses, which were dumped on the outskirts of the capital Abuja . Then they were crushed and buried by a backhoe.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, barely vaccinated with one dose to 5% of its population of more than 206 million inhabitants, and with two doses to less than 3%.
Faisal Shuaib, director of the National Development Agency for Primary Health Care (NPHCDA) explained at a press conference that they had received these vaccines in October, expiring in November. “We knew they had a short lifespan, but we accepted them because we live in a scenario where the supply of vaccines is very scarce, ” said Shuaib.
He also added: “We could have followed the advice of some experts and tested these vaccines after their expiration date , but we made the decision to be transparent with the population and destroy them.”
In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Africa and the COVAX mechanism of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on the international community to follow strict rules when delivering doses to the countries of the continent to avoid their expiration.
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