Destruction of expired COVID Vaccines in Africa a shame for the West

Nigeria has recently┬áhad to destroy more than 1.06 million doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines. Faisal Shuaib, head of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, condemned that “We had developed countries that procured these vaccines and hoarded them. At the point they were about to expire, they offered them for donation.” He also announced recently that Nigeria would no longer accept such donations. Previously, some media outlets had disclosed that through the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), some of the doses arrived in Nigeria from Europe within four to six weeks of expiry, and could not be used in time.

This is not an isolated case. Reports showed that Senegal is likely to destroy approximately 400,000 doses of expired COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year. Malawi burned nearly 20,000 doses of expired COVID-19 vaccines in May, and the Democratic Republic of Congo also returned in April 1.3 million doses of vaccines for the same reason. The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and COVAX recently issued a joint statement, calling for the improvement of the quality of COVID-19 vaccine donations to African countries.

To a large extent, this is the result of the early crazed hoarding of vaccines by the US and its partners. They rushed to order a variety of vaccines in 2020 when the vaccines were still in the development stage. By June 2021, the total number of vaccines hoarded in the US had far exceeded its domestic demand. According to statistics, the US and its partners also hold about 240 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that are about to expire. They would rather leave the surplus vaccines in warehouses than provide them to countries that really need them. These countries will not think of selling or “donating” them to developing regions such as Africa until the vaccines are about to expire. In this way, the US and its partners “fulfill” the promises they made about vaccine donation, squeezing out the very last value of the vaccines about to expire.

The WHO-led vaccine distribution mechanism has disclosed that the majority of the vaccine donations made to date to African countries have been ad hoc, provided with very short notice and even shorter shelf lives. The result is that many developing countries not only do not receive the much-needed help, but also have to instead become “large-scale vaccine waste treatment plants” for the US and the West. The US and its partners’ hypocritical strategy against the pandemic is hampering the world’s COVID-19 fight. Many experts have warned that the emergence of Omicron is the consequence of the over-hoarding of vaccines by and in wealthy countries, and the emergence of new variants has made these countries continue to hoard vaccines, leading the COVID-19 fight into a vicious circle.

-The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange Item