19 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Expired vaccines being disposed of – how could this possibly happen?
Adrian Leopard 276

Expired vaccines being disposed of – how could this possibly happen?

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People continue to die while countries find they cannot organise themselves to jab their citizens

Reports of the disposal of out of date AstraZeneca vaccines are nothing less than distressing in the extreme.

How could this happen? Over 19000 doses of the vaccine were incinerated in Malawi because they had not been used by their use by date. 102000 of these vaccines were supplied on 26th March and had an expiry date of 13th April. Certainly the time is quite short but was this country really not in a position to deliver the vaccines to its people who clearly needed it?

What is not reported is the original date of manufacture. Had they been sitting around with the African Union for a while? Seemingly the vaccine has a six month shelf life if kept properly but vaccines seem to be doing world tours before ending up at their final destinations.

It does not end with Malawi unfortunately. The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to dispose of “most” of the 1.7 million doses it has received. Nigeria is another and doses are being shunted on to other countries where practicable.

The fundamental problem is that these African countries just do not have the superstructure to be able to cope with the mass distribution necessary for a variety of reasons. There is a very interesting article here where you can read much about the issue as a whole:

Basically adequate distribution has been a bungled job; it is all rather heart breaking; there seems little point in falling over backwards to send vaccine to countries which cannot get their acts together to use it, however much their citizens need it. I wonder if perhaps a stronger leadership from the WHO might have enabled better planning to take place so that the vaccines could be in the right places at the right times, perhaps with help from the right people to administer it.

Adrian Leopard 19-05-21

Photo Daniel Schludi

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