Vaccines to Africa must have good shelf lives, says expert

Jan 20, 2022, 8:31 AM | Updated: 8:41 am

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — At least 2.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated to African countries have expired, the Africa Centers for Disease Control said Thursday, citing short shelf lives as the major reason.

Donors of vaccines to the continent should send them with a realistic shelf life of about “three months to six months” before their expiration, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong told an online briefing. More African nations are now refusing to accept donations of vaccines that have only one or two months before their expiration, he said.

Although the number of expired doses is only about 0.5% of the total number donated to Africa, Nkengasong said he is unhappy to see any become invalid.

“Any dose of vaccine that expired pains me because that is a life that can potentially be saved,” Nkengasong said.

Just over 10% of Africa’s population of 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated, he said. The continent’s 54 countries have confirmed 10.4 million COVID-19 cases and 235,000 deaths. The continent’s omicron wave appears to be receding, with new confirmed cases down by 20% from the previous week and deaths dropping by 8%, the World Health Organization’s Africa office announced Thursday.

More than 60% of the 572 million vaccine doses African countries have received have already been administered, Nkengasong said. The “big fight” for African countries will be “logistics and getting doses to the population even as more supplies arrive,” he said.

“We’ve seen remarkable uptake of vaccines in settings where we engage the community … and religious leaders,” Nkengasong said, urging countries to use innovative ways to “bring vaccines to the population and not only require that the populations should go to where the vaccines are.”

In Nigeria, for instance, an increasing number of vaccination centers are being set at public facilities such as markets and motor parks and health authorities are collaborating with opinion leaders to fight hesitancy.

Vaccines are Africa’s “best defense” against severe illness, death and overwhelmed health systems, Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa director said at another online briefing Thursday.

“Africa must not only broaden vaccinations but also gain increased and equitable access to critical COVID-19 therapeutics to save lives and effectively combat this pandemic,” Moeti said. “The deep inequity that left Africa at the back of the queue for vaccines must not be repeated with life-saving treatments.”

In 2022, more testing is needed to fight the pandemic, said Harley Feldbaum of the Global Fund.

“We need to bring testing and treatment together in a much more rapid fashion,” said Feldbaum. “As long as we allow the pandemic to continue and to have inequitable access to tools, vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, new variants are likely to rise, more people are likely to die than are needed to and the health systems overall are more likely to be undermined.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Martin Garcia, owner of gift and décor store Gramercy Gift Gallery, poses for a photo at his shop,...
Associated Press

Add rent to the rising costs bedeviling small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — The rent has come due for America’s small businesses and at a very inopportune time. Landlords were lenient about rent payments during the first two years of the pandemic. Now, many are asking for back rent, and some are raising the current rent as well. Meanwhile, most of the government aid […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Republican Gov. Brian Kemp waves to supporters during an election night watch party, May 24,...
Associated Press

Ousters, upsets halfway through 2022 primary election season

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than halfway through a tumultuous primary season, voters have rendered verdicts in a number of contests, many of which featured candidates arguing they best represented a continuation of policies favored by former President Donald Trump. While not on the ballot himself, Trump has played a role in several races, with […]
9 hours ago
Yellow tape marks bullet holes on a tree and a portrait and flowers create a makeshift memorial on ...
Associated Press

US: Shot that killed journalist likely fired from Israelis

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials have concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions likely killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh but that there was “no reason to believe” her shooting was intentional, the State Department said Monday. The finding, in a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price, came after what the U.S. said was inconclusive […]
9 hours ago
A shoe was abandoned in front of the shopping centre Fields, closed for at least a week after Sunda...
Associated Press

Motive likely not terror-related in ‘brutal’ Danish shooting

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police said Monday, all but ruling out that the attack was an “act of terrorism.” Authorities filed preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder against a […]
9 hours ago
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, photo, a guard stands in the intake area at the Adelanto ICE Processi...
Associated Press

Immigration detention facility near empty in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A sprawling, privately run detention center in the wind-swept California desert town of Adelanto could house nearly 2,000 migrants facing the prospect of deportation. These days, though, it’s nearly empty. The Adelanto facility is an extreme example of how the U.S. government’s use of guaranteed minimum payments in contracts with private […]
9 hours ago
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, front, arrives for the 'Concerted Action', a meeting of representati...
Associated Press

German leader gathers employers, unions to tackle inflation

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gathered top employer and labor union representatives at his Berlin office on Monday to seek ways of addressing the impact of rising prices while preventing a spiral of inflation in Europe’s biggest economy. The government billed Monday’s meeting as the first in a series aimed at finding a […]
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Vaccines to Africa must have good shelf lives, says expert