Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022. 7:56 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Developing countries rejected more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines which were coming close to their expiration date, Reuters reports.
UNICEF reported today that the countries were receiving the vaccines through the United Nations’ COVAX programme, which illustrates the difficulties some countries are having with their vaccination programme despite accessibility to shots.
While speaking today to lawmakers in the European Parliament, Etleva Kadilli, Director of Supply Division at UNICEF said that more than a 100 million doses were rejected in December, due largely to their shelf life. She noted that another widespread problem was the lack of adequate refrigerator storage for doses.
During her presentation, she also noted that, of the 15 million rejected doses that originated from the European Union, 75 percent of them were AstraZeneca shots with a shelf life of less than 10 weeks.
Reports are that developing countries are grappling with a sudden shift in the supply of COVID vaccines as developed countries initially procured the majority of vaccine shots in the beginning, but as countries started vaccinating the majority of their populations they began donating shots.
The COVAX programme alone, which is co-led by the World Health Organization, has delivered 987 million COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries so far, but it is not the only supplier of vaccines to developing countries. Some countries have reportedly gotten direct donations for other countries, purchased shots from manufacturers themselves, or engaged in some other form of regional procurement initiative.
World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that 67 percent of the population in richer nations had been fully vaccinated, whereas only 8 percent of developing countries have received their first dose, as of January 2022.
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