The World Health Organisation has called on African nations not to trash Covid-19 vaccines donated to them even after reaching expiry.
The announcement comes after Malawi and South Sudan recently announced that their vaccines were expired and sought to destroy them.
“If we are doing our part to mobilise these vaccines, you do your part and use the vaccines,” John Nkengasong, the director Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said during a news conference appealed to member states.
The top public health official in Africa said the Africa CDC had told nations receiving the donations that the shots were usable until July 13, following a further analysis done by the Serum Institute.
WHO’s Africa director, Matshidiso Moeti in a separate briefing said the jabs produced by the Serum Institute should be stored until further information was available.
“My understanding is that the expiry date could be several months longer than had initially been envisaged. But we will look for the definitive information,” Moeti said.
Africa has struggled to get enough Covid-19 vaccines for mass immunisation campaigns.
Most nations rely on donations from Covax, the global vaccine scheme currently co-led by the WHO and others, among them the Gavi vaccines alliance.