Poorest countries rejected more than 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines distributed by the global program last month COVAX, mainly due to their quick expiration date, a Unicef official said.
Etleva Kadilli, director of the agency’s supplies division, told lawmakers in the European Parliament the main reason for the rejection was the delivery of short-shelf-life doses, Reuters reports.
More than 100 million were rejected in December alone. “
Poorer countries have also been forced to delay supplies because they do not have sufficient storage facilities, Kadilli said, including the lack of refrigerators for vaccines.
Many countries also face high levels of reluctance to immunize and have overburdened health systems.
UNICEF data on supplies and use of delivered vaccines shows that 681 million shipped doses are currently in storage in around 90 poorest countries, according to CARE, a charity, which pulled the figures from a database. public data.
Over 30 poorer nations, including large states like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, used less than half of the doses received, CARE said. The organization added:
We MUST invest in last mile delivery to get the vaccines from the tarmacs to the guns. Countries need delivery support – including for health workers, cold chains, and education programs to address vaccine reluctance – if they are to use all the vaccines they have. they get.
A spokesperson for Gavi, a vaccine alliance that co-manages COVAX, said the high storage level was due to increased shipments in the last quarter, particularly in December.
Gavi added that most of the vaccines recently shipped by COVAX have a long shelf life and are therefore unlikely to be wasted.
COVAX, which is co-led by the World Health Organization, has so far delivered 987 million Covid-19 vaccines to 144 countries, according to Gavi data.
Wealthy countries donating vaccines with relatively short shelf lives have been a “major problem” for COVAX, a senior WHO official said last month.