Lilongwe – Malawi has incinerated nearly 17,000 doses of expired AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, saying propaganda against the drugs has contributed to low public uptake.
The vaccines, sourced through the African Union, had a two-week shelf-life and expired in mid-April.
Malawi has so far received three batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine: 300,000 doses from the COVAX facility, 102,000 from the African Union and 50,000 from India.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo this week said, “The batch which had expired has been withdrawn from our system and has been destroyed. We tried to assure Malawians and give them the faith but wound up with 16,910 unusable doses of AstraZeneca. We don’t want to lose any vaccine because we have a lot of people to vaccinate, we have to remove all expired drugs from the system.”
Since launch of the national vaccination campaign in March, Malawi has inoculated 300,000 people out of a target of 11 million – or 60 percent of the population – by year-end.