Malawi burns thousands of expired AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses

(BBC) – Health authorities in Malawi have incinerated 19,610 expired doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, saying it will reassure the public that any vaccines they do get are safe.

It is the first African country to publicly do this.
The World Health Organization initially urged countries not to destroy expired doses but has now changed its advice.
Uptake of the vaccine in Malawi has been low and health workers hope the move will increase public confidence.
Out of a population of about 18 million people, the country has recorded 34,232 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,153 deaths.
Malawi received 102,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it acquired from the African Union on 26 March and used almost 80% of them.
But the expiry date on the labels was 13 April and officials say this wasn’t enough time to use them all.

So in a 30-minute process, officials destroyed thousands of Covid-19 vaccines, leaving behind just broken pieces of the vials holding the liquid.

Malawi’s principal health secretary told the BBC that it was unfortunate they had to destroy the vaccines but the benefits outweighed the risks.
“When news spread that we had out-of-date vaccines, we noticed that people were not coming to our clinics to get immunised,” said Dr Charles Mwansambo.
“If we don’t burn them, people will think that we are using expired vaccines in our facilities and if they don’t come, Covid-19 will hit them hard.”
The government says it has adequate stocks of vaccines and has urged everyone over 18 years old to get a jab.
In addition to the 102,000 from the African Union, it has received 300,000 doses under the Covax vaccine-sharing facility and 50,000 sourced direct from India.

However, future supplies could be threatened by India’s decision to halt exports.

Article By News784

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