By James Mwala
The government of Malawi has stood its ground in going further to torch nearly twenty thousand expired AstraZeneca Covid19 doses.
However, this is against a direction that the World Health Organization stated before countries.
Initially, the WHO urged African countries not to destroy Covid-19 vaccines that may have passed their expiry date.
Countries were told to keep hold of them and wait for further guidance.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) had earlier said it had been assured the doses were safe to use.
The CDC said many vaccines would 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.
Earlier this year, Malawi’s got its first consignment of 360,000 AstraZeneca doses in early March from the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative which is providing vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.
The country received another batch of 50,000 AstraZeneca doses from the Indian government. With the AU donation, Malawi had a total of 512,000 AstraZeneca doses.
Speaking during the incineration process in the capital, Lilongwe, Khumbize Chiponda. Minister of Health said the exercise would go a long way in ending misconceptions that people hold over the vaccines.
Ministry of health Principal Secretary Dr Charles Mwansambo had also said the deemed the exercise fit as the country is to receive a second batch to run the second and final phase of vaccination.
“When news spread that we had out-of-date vaccines, we noticed that people were not coming to our clinics to get immunized. If we don’t burn them, people will think that we are using expired vaccines in our facilities and if they don’t come, Covid-19 will hit them hard.” He is quoted as having said.
The Covid19 status in Malawi
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 34,251 cases including 1,153 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.37%).
Of these cases, 2,195 are imported infections and 32,056 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 32,260 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 94.2%) and 232 (98 new) were lost to follow-up.
Currently, there are 606 active infections.
Cumulatively, 240,695 tests have been conducted in the country so far. On COVID-19 vaccination, cumulatively 339,481 doses have been administered.