Pictures: Nigeria Destroys One Million Expired Coronavirus Vaccines Donated by West

TOPSHOT - A policeman watch as cartons of expired AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are destroyed at the Gosa dump site in Abuja, Nigeria on December 22, 2021. - According to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) alongside the National Primary Health Care Development Agency …
KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty

Nigeria’s federal government ceremonially destroyed more than one million doses of expired AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines this week, announcing on Wednesday that the action was designed in part to inspire vaccine-hesitant Nigerians to “have faith” in the nation’s state-run coronavirus inoculation drive, Nigeria’s Punch newspaper reported.

Various Nigerian government officials representing the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency gathered at a landfill in Abuja on December 22 to preside over a ceremony in which a dump truck unloaded cardboard boxes filled with unused coronavirus vaccines into a vacant section of the site.

“We have successfully withdrawn 1,066,214 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines. We have kept our promise to be transparent to Nigerians. The destruction today is an opportunity for Nigerians to have faith in our vaccination program,” Faisal Shuaib, the executive director of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, told reporters gathered at the event.

“Logistics and bottlenecks involved in clearing the vaccines also led to a loss of valuable time in distributing the vaccines across the country,” Nigerian public health officials acknowledged on Wednesday, according to Punch.

“Recently, like many other African countries, Nigeria has seen a surge in [coronavirus] vaccine supply, which has highlighted other issues relating to distribution and hesitation by citizens to get inoculated,” Reuters observed on December 22.

Expired AstraZeneca coronavirus  vaccine vials are seen at the Gosa dump site in Abuja, Nigeria on December 22, 2021. (KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Expired AstraZeneca coronavirus disease vaccines are pushed into a pit at the Gosa dump site in Abuja, Nigeria on December 22, 2021. (KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Nigerian federal government announced plans to destroy the unused batch of AstraZeneca vaccines on December 13. Shuaib told reporters at the time the decision came after Nigeria realized it did not have enough time or resources to distribute the vaccines before their expiration date. COVAX, a World Health Organization (W.H.O.)-led initiative that facilitates coronavirus vaccine shipments to poorer nations, donated the AstraZeneca vaccine batch to Nigeria’s government in October.

Nigeria received a shipment containing 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine from France through COVAX on October 14.

“The U.S. … contributed to the first multilateral donation of AstraZeneca vaccine [to Nigeria] in March 2021,” the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria recalled in mid-October when announcing its latest donation of coronavirus vaccines to the West African state. Washington donated 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines to Nigeria on October 14.

A truck offloads more AstraZeneca coronavirus disease vaccines at the Gosa dump site in Abuja, Nigeria on December 22, 2021. ( KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigeria has struggled to successfully administer the roughly 10 million COVAX-donated vaccines it has received from Western nations over the past several months.

“Fewer than four percent of adults in Africa’s most populous nation of over 200 million have been fully vaccinated,” Reuters reported on October 14.

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