Malawi government will destroy 19,610 doses of expired COVID-19 vaccines on May 19, 2021, a health official said Friday.
A statement signed by Secretary for Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo said the expired doses are those that arrived in the country on March 26, 2021 with a short shelf life and expired on April 13, 2021.
Dr. Mwansambo added that the disposing of the expired vaccines will be done publically through incineration in the presence of members of the disposal committee at Kamuzu Central Hospital incinerator in Lilongwe.
“This is in line with the laid down protocols by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, specifically on the disposal of medicines and biologicals.
“The Auditor General`s Office, Treasury and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will also be present along with other relevant stakeholders in order to enhance transparency,” Mwansambo said in a statement.
Commenting on the development, health rights activist Maziko Matemba has commended government for being decisive despite calls by the World Health Organisation (WHO) appealing to member states to hold the jabs.
“If indeed the vaccines have expired, I think they need to be incinerated as you are aware we have a long way go to vaccinate about 11 million population which is not an easy thing, and I t requires all efforts to make sure that there is no hesitation.
“I am aware that the WHO has got a different view about destroying these vaccines because they feel that these vaccines can still be used, but looking at our local situation in the country I think what government has done is a commendable decision because it will give confidence to the other vaccines which are still active and can be given to the population,” said Matemba.
Government has since assured people in the country that it still has adequate stocks of COVID-19 vaccines in both Government and CHAM facilities and that those aged 18 years and above are encouraged to get vaccinated.
The second dose of the AstraZeneca will be administered from June 3, 2021 in the country. Research has it that COVID-19 vaccines helps reducing the risk of developing severe disease, risk of hospitalization and death due to the virus.
Over 330 000 people have so far been in the country inoculated COVID-19 jab in the country.