Rich nations dump near expiry Covid jabs on poor countries

| | London
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Rich nations dump near expiry Covid jabs on poor countries

Saturday, 15 January 2022 | IANS | London

Third world nations were offered about 100 million Covid-19 vaccines that were near expiry, which countries were forced to dump, according to UN's children's fund Unicef. According to Unicef's head of supply Etleva Kadilli, more than 100 million vaccines were, in December alone, rejected by countries as they were unable to distribute them, BBC reported.

The problem was compounded by many countries' insufficient storage facilities, Kadilli was quoted as saying to members of European Parliament on Thursday.

Many of world's poorest countries, most of them in Africa, have been relying on UN-backed Covax scheme for their vaccines.

The programme faced challenges in accessing doses early last year, but situation significantly improved towards end of 2021 with wealthier countries releasing doses they were holding. According to provisional tracking by UNICEF, about 910 million doses were delivered through UN-backed initiative as of December 30. Nearly half of doses delivered in December came from three US-backed vaccine manufacturers: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.

However, many of doses offered have been close to their expiry date, and have been rejected by recipient nations, BBC report said.Some countries such as Nigeria struggled with administering vaccines forcing them to destroy expired jabs.

Only about 10 per cent of population on continent has been fully vaccinated. "More than 9.4 billion vaccine doses have now been administered globally. But 90 countries did not reach target of vaccinating 40 per cent of their populations by end of last year, and 36 of those countries have not yet vaccinated 10 per cent of their populations," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of World Health Organization.

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