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WHO urges African nations to keep expired vaccines

April 23, 2021 6:12 am

The World Health Organization has urged African countries not to destroy Covid-19 vaccines that may have passed their expiry date.

Countries have been told to keep hold of them and wait for further guidance.

The appeal comes after Malawi and South Sudan said they would destroy more than 70,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab because they expired in mid-April.

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But the Africa Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC) said it had been assured the doses were safe to use.

Many vaccines can be used up to 36 months after manufacture, but because Covid-19 jabs are so new there is not enough data to prove their effectiveness over longer periods.

The final decision on whether to use expired jabs rests with national drug regulators, the BBC’s health reporter in Nairobi, Rhoda Odhiambo, notes.

The roll-out of coronavirus vaccines across Africa has been slow, partly because of supply issues and wider scepticism about the jab.

 

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