Nigerian authorities announced on Wednesday that they had incinerated more than a million doses of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical industry AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, which had been donated to it by developed countries but had an expiration date and has since expired.
“We have successfully withdrawn 1.06 million doses of the expired AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Dr. Nigeria’s director of the National Immunization Program. Faisal Swab.
“When we were offered these vaccines, we knew they had a limited lifespan, but we were in an environment where the supply of vaccines was very rare,” he said. Swab.
Nigeria destroyed more than one million doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines. The destruction came more than a week after health authorities said some doses donated by rich Western nations had a shelf life that left only weeks to administer the shots https://t.co/Z0dTDiHLN4 pic.twitter.com/7Ikf55hm7k
– Reuters (@Reuters) December 22, 2021
At that time “vaccines were not available, because of the prevailing nationalism regarding vaccines, the developed countries procured these vaccines and kept them in stock, then, when they were about to expire, they offered them to us,” he said.
Only 3% of those vaccinated
Africa’s most populous country has fully vaccinated some 4 million people to date, in other words less than 3% of its adult population. The government’s goal of immunizing 112 million people by the end of 2022 is still a long way off.
Health officials said Monday that the country was now facing a fourth wave of the new coronavirus pandemic and called for “strict” measures to be taken in anticipation of the holiday season.
“Nigeria has seen a 500% increase in the number of confirmed cases in the last two weeks across the country due to the Delta and Omicron variants of the SARS-CoV-2,” the Nigerian Centers for Disease Control (NCDC) said in a statement.
Officially, the new coronavirus pandemic count to date is less than 3,000 deaths due to COVID-19 complications out of a total of 225,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections.
These numbers are very low given that Nigeria has a population of 220 million. It is considered certain that they are very underestimated in relation to reality, since a small number of tests are performed.
A large part of the population is unaware of the very existence of the virus and the disease it causes, often thinking that the symptoms are due to malaria – a disease that kills 9 to 10 people every hour in Nigeria -, say the health authorities.
After all, the ability to take the SARS-CoV-2 test for free is almost non-existent, and the cost of doing just one PCR test exceeds the monthly earnings of the majority of Nigerians living in poverty.