Africa’s top public health bodies have called for donated COVID-19 vaccines to come with a shelf life of three to six months so countries could plan their rollouts and avoid a situation where doses expire.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said 2.8 million doses of vaccine had expired on the continent, roughly 0.5% of the 572 million doses delivered to date. He said 10.4% of Africans were fully vaccinated.
“In terms of the 0.5 %, let me be very clear, any dose of vaccine that expired pains me because that is a life that can be potentially saved,” Nkengasong told a news briefing on Thursday
In a separate briefing, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, echoed Nkengasong’s call.
“Many countries indicate that they would like vaccines to be donated with at least three months of shelf life, if not more,” Moeti said.
Nkengasong said that expired doses were mostly among those donated by individual countries or via the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX and that they had arrived with “very short notice”.