The World Well being Group (WHO) has urged African international locations to not destroy Covid-19 vaccines which will have handed their expiry date.
International locations have been informed to maintain maintain of them and await additional steering.
The attraction comes after Malawi and South Sudan stated they might destroy greater than 70,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab as a result of they expired in mid-April.
However the Africa Centres for Illness Management (Africa CDC) stated it had been assured the doses had been secure to make use of.
Many vaccines can be utilized as much as 36 months after manufacture, however as a result of Covid-19 jabs are so new there may be not sufficient knowledge to show their effectiveness over longer intervals.
The ultimate determination on whether or not to make use of expired jabs rests with nationwide drug regulators, the BBC’s well being reporter in Nairobi, Rhoda Odhiambo, notes.
The roll-out of coronavirus vaccines throughout Africa has been gradual, partly due to provide points and wider scepticism concerning the jab.
“My attraction to member states is: if we’re doing our half to mobilise these vaccines, you do your half and use the vaccines,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, informed a information convention on Thursday.
Malawi stated it deliberate to destroy greater than 16,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had been manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), as a result of their expiry date was 13 April.
South Sudan, in the meantime, deliberate to discard some 59,000 doses for a similar cause.
The vaccine doses had been donated to 13 African international locations by a partnership between the African Union (AU) and the telecommunication firm MTN Group, the BBC’s Peter Mwai from Actuality Verify studies.
The AU purchased a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from South Africa, which had stopped utilizing the jab amid doubts over its effectiveness in opposition to a brand new variant that had turn out to be dominant within the nation.
The Africa CDC despatched the doses to international locations in late March, a number of weeks earlier than they expired.
Mr Nkengasong, who known as the vaccine panorama “extraordinarily difficult”, stated the SII had suggested Africa CDC that the “vaccines can nonetheless be used even after 9 months”.
The WHO’s Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti urged international locations to “retailer the vaccines safely as we proceed to check and attempt to get definitive recommendation on whether or not the vaccines can be utilized for longer”.
ther than Malawi and South Sudan, the WHO stated Ghana and Sierra Leone had additionally not used all of their vaccines because of their expiry dates.
Sierra Leone’s well being minister stated the nation had been left with a few third of the doses they obtained. “We needed to scramble to make it possible for we prioritise the usage of these vaccines,” Austin Demby informed the BBC.
Out of 55 African international locations, 41 have benefitted from the supply of vaccines through the global-sharing scheme Covax. Seven are but to obtain their first batch.
The Covax scheme goals to make sure vaccines are shared pretty amongst all nations, wealthy and poor. Thus far, greater than 38 million doses of vaccine have been delivered to 98 international locations.
Well being specialists say equitable world entry to vaccines is essential to ending the pandemic.