Some low-income countries are tossing their COVID-19 vaccines— here’s why

At least three African countries that have low COVID-19 vaccination rates are wasting their doses or giving them to other countries because of public mistrust and lack of logistical support, NPR reported May 5.

Twenty-four low-income countries recently reported using less than a third of their COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 15 countries reporting they are using less than a fourth, according to NPR.

Emily Janoch, director of knowledge management and learning at aid group CARE, told NPR wealthy countries have been paying for vaccines for low-income countries, but they haven't been funding the logistics needed to put shots in arms.

The Democratic Republic of Congo received 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine in March, but held off on administering them while it waited for official guidance amid the shot's blood clotting concerns. By the time Congolese authorities deemed the vaccines safe to use, the country was stuck with far more doses than it would be able to administer before expiration, so they decided to give away about three-fourths of those 1.7 million doses to other countries. South Sudan had a similar experience and said it will discard 60,000 doses that have already expired.

Vaccine distrust stemming from concerns about blood clots linked to AstraZeneca's vaccine has significantly decreased Malawi's vaccine rollout, as AstraZeneca's vaccine is currently the only one available to the country. Amos Zaindi, CARE's country director for Malawi, told NPR he is having difficulty convincing even his own staffers at CARE to receive the vaccine, as only 40 percent of them have gotten it. Malawi recently had to destroy 16,000 doses that expired before they could be used.

 

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