Malawi burns 20,000 expired AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses despite calls – fr

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Malawi burns 20,000 expired AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses despite calls – fr


BLANTYRE, MALAWI – Malawi has burned nearly 20,000 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines, defying calls not to do so by the World Health Organization and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Malawi’s Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda presided over the cremation on Wednesday at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, the capital.

“We are destroying (these vaccines) because, according to government policy, no expired health products should be used,” she said. “Historically, as part of Malawi’s Expanded Immunization Program, no expired vaccine has ever been used. “

She said burning the vaccines would prevent those who have a negative perception of vaccines from using the expired vaccines excuse to get vaccinated.

“We are publicly destroying in order to be accountable to the Malawians. Expired vaccines are not used during the vaccination campaign, ”she said. “On behalf of the government, I assure all Malawians that no one will receive an expired COVID vaccine. “

Burnt vaccines represented the remainder of the 102,000 doses that arrived in Malawi on March 26 with just 18 days until their expiration on April 13. All other doses in the shipment, donated by the African Union, were administered successfully, she said.

The Minister of Health thanked the WHO, the African Union and India for their donation of vaccines.

“This has allowed Malawi to embark on the COVID vaccination campaign currently underway,” she said, without referring to WHO’s calls not to burn the vaccines.

Calls not to destroy vaccines came too late for Malawi, a small southern African country of about 20 million people, health ministry spokesman Joshua Malango told The Associated Press .

“We had stopped observing the proper storage mechanisms and the vaccines would still have been damaged in one way or another,” he said.

The destruction of vaccines has been observed by several senior officials “to improve transparency,” Health Secretary Charles Mwansambo said.

Malawi will always have adequate stocks of COVID-19 vaccines in public and private health facilities, he said. The government has not said where it will get more vaccines.

Malawi received its first shipment of 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca in early March from the UN-backed COVAX initiative, which provides vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. The country has received another batch of 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca from the Indian government. With the AU donation, Malawi received a total of 512,000 doses of AstraZeneca.

So far, 212,615 doses have been administered in Malawi. The country has 34,216 confirmed cases, including 1,153 deaths, according to the African CDC.

Currently, the country is experiencing a decrease in the disease, with the 7-day moving average of daily new cases in Malawi dropping from 0.07 new cases per 100,000 population on May 4 to 0.04 new cases per 100,000 population on May 18 . COVID-19 is also on the decline, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

Malawi, like many other African countries, relied on the AstraZeneca vaccine which was distributed by COVAX and the African Union. But now vaccine supplies have become scarce because India, COVAX’s main vaccine supplier, has halted exports until it has properly vaccinated large numbers of its 1.4 billion population. of people.

The Indian Serum Institute said it hopes to start supplying coronavirus vaccines to COVAX and other countries by the end of the year. This delay will significantly slow down global efforts to immunize people against COVID-19. The Indian Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. The company said in March it was postponing all exports of coronavirus vaccines to deal with the explosive outbreak of cases on the subcontinent. At the time, the World Health Organization said it expected COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from India to resume by June and the disruption would affect around 90 million of doses.

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