In December alone, poor international locations refused to simply accept about 100 million donated COVID-19 vaccine doses, primarily due to their brief shelf life, the United Nations stated Thursday.
The World Well being Group has additionally condemned the “ethical disgrace” of high-income international locations hoarding vaccine provides after which sharing their near-expiry doses with jab-starved poorer international locations.
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Surprising photos of Nigerian authorities disposing of over 1,000,000 expired AstraZeneca doses final month introduced the difficulty to mild.
As a part of Covax, a world program to make sure that vaccine doses attain poorer nations, UNICEF makes use of its vaccine logistics experience to deal with supply flights.
UNICEF’s provide division director Etleva Kadilli informed the committee of the European Parliament in December that “we had virtually greater than 100 million doses which have been refused due to international locations’ capacities”.
“The vast majority of refusals are as a consequence of product shelf life.”
“The brief shelf life is basically creating a significant bottleneck for international locations to plan their vaccination campaigns,” Kadilli defined.
“Till now we have a greater shelf life, that is going to be a stress level for the international locations, particularly when international locations need to attain populations in hard-to-reach areas.”
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Kadilli informed lawmakers that EU donations account for a 3rd of the doses delivered by Covax thus far.
Throughout October-November, 15 million EU-donated doses have been rejected, 75 per cent of which have been AstraZeneca photographs with a shelf lifetime of lower than 10 weeks on arrival.
Kadilli famous that a number of nations are requesting that deliveries be delayed till after March, once they may be in a greater place to take care of the stress on the chilly storage chain.
Many international locations “come again and request break up shipments — they need to push doses in direction of the subsequent quarter”, she stated.
“And I am speaking right here additionally for big, large international locations the place naturally you’d assume that they do have the capability.”
Covax is a collaborative effort between the WHO, Gavi, and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Improvements. It’s about to ship its billionth vaccine dose by way of UNICEF.
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The WHO introduced on December 29 that 92 of its 194 member states missed their goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of their populations by the tip of 2021.
“This is because of a mix of restricted provide going to low-income international locations for many of the yr after which subsequent vaccines arriving near expiry and with out key components just like the syringes,” stated WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“It isn’t solely an ethical disgrace; it value lives.”
On Thursday, he stated 9.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered to individuals around the globe, however greater than 85 per cent of Africans haven’t acquired a single dose.
“Among the provide constraints we confronted final yr at the moment are beginning to ease, however we nonetheless have an extended solution to go to succeed in our goal of vaccinating 70 p.c of the inhabitants of each nation by the center of this yr,” Tedros informed member states.
(With inputs from businesses)