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Nigerian govt confirms withdrawal of expired COVID-19 vaccines from stock

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The Federal Government on Wednesday confirmed the expiry of some batch of COVID-19 vaccines within the last month.

Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Federal Minister of Health, made this closure on Wednesday during a media briefing in Abuja.

Ehanire further noted that the vaccines were withdrawn and destroyed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) while clarifying that the donation of surplus Covid-19 vaccines with short/expiring shelf lives had been of great concern internationally.

He said, “Nigeria has utilized most of the over 10m short-shelf-life doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far supplied to us, in good time, and saved N16.4 billio or more than $40m in foreign exchange.

“The vaccines that expired had been withdrawn before then and will be destroyed accordingly, by NAFDAC.”

READ ALSO: Lawan decries absence of ministers, permanent secretary at COVID-19 summit

This assurance comes a few hours after reports suggested that up to one million COVID-19 vaccines expired in Nigeria last month without being used.

Reacting further to the emerging reports, the Minister of Health noted that some of them had residual shelf lives of only a few months that left the government a very short time to deliver to users.

“Nigeria does not dispense vaccines with a validity extended beyond labelled expiry date. We continue to adhere to our rigorous standards,” he stated.

Ehanire also said, “donors also recognize a need to give away unused vaccines, before they expire in their own stock, but they need to begin the process early enough and create a well-oiled pathway for prompt shipment and distribution through the COVAX and AVAT facilities, to reduce risk of expiration”.

“With better coordination, vaccines need not expire in the stock of Donors or Recipients.”

The Minister explained that it now declines all vaccine donations with short shelf life or those that cannot be delivered in time.

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