Nigeria destroyed more than a million doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines recently donated by developed countries, but which are currently past their expiration date, on Wednesday.
Africa’s most populous country has so far inoculated just four million people, less than 3% of its adult population and well below its government’s goal of immunizing 112 million people by the end of next year.
“We have eliminated one million 66,214 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines,” said Faisal Shuaib, an official with the national primary health care agency.
“When these vaccines were donated to us, we knew they had a very short shelf life, but we are in an environment where the supply of vaccines against Covid-19 it is very scarce, “he said, blaming rich countries for hoarding doses and only donating them when they are about to expire.
The UN has long warned that inequalities in the global distribution of immunizers are leaving scores of vulnerable people in the poorest countries without a single dose, even as the richest have launched booster programs.
Nigerian officials said Monday that the African country is currently facing a fourth wave of the pandemic and called for strict enforcement of restrictions during the Christmas season.
This West African country, with 220 million inhabitants, has officially registered 225,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with less than 3,000 deaths linked to Covid-19.
However, experts attribute the low numbers of infected and morbidity in part to the low rates of specific tests and a general lack of information about the disease.