The Department of Health says it is sad that the country is sitting with too many unused COVID-19 vaccines.
This as 92 000 vaccines will expire on Thursday.
COVID-19 infection rates have declined in South Africa, but vaccination rates also seem to have stagnated, while government ponders ending the National State of Disaster.
The Health Department’s Director of Affordable Medicines, Khadija Jamaloodien, says the demand for vaccines is not where it should be.
“We had the contracts for vaccines, and received it in the country, so specifically for the Pfizer vaccine, it does have a shorter shelf life. So, from the time of manufacture to the time it expires, it’s about nine months, and although we had staggered deliveries that we received in thecountry to make sure that those expiry dates extended well into 2022, the demand for vaccines didn’t keep pace with what we had on supply.”
Jamaloodien elaborates further in the video below:
Health Department gives clarity
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Department of Health said it has an “obligation to ensure that all medical products, including vaccines which have reached shelf life, are quarantined and disposed of accordingly.”
“To date (29 March 2022), 33 405 701 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered and no unused vaccines have been discarded at the central warehouses due to expiry. However, at the end of this month of March, about 92 370 doses of Pfizer vaccine are due to expire and will be disposed of according to the minimum standard for the disposal and destruction of medicines and scheduled substances.”
“In contrast to the demand at the start of the vaccination programme, the current demand for vaccines has waned. The Department continues to explore various options to mitigate the wastage of vaccines as a result of expiry, including exchange and donation through the COVAX Facility,” adds the Department.
SA’s latest COVID-19 stats
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases has reported six more coronavirus-related fatalities, bringing the total number of fatalities to 100 020 to date.
“There may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 44 deaths and of these, six occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours,” says the institute in a statement.
The institute has also reported 1 679 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections to 3 717 067.
Below are the latest coronavirus stats: