N$26m worth of vaccines wasted

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N$26m worth of vaccines wasted
N$26m worth of vaccines wasted

Africa-Press – Namibia. Namibia disposed of about 318 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines worth more than N$26 million as they have reached their expiry date.

The executive director in the health ministry Ben Nangombe said the batch of vaccines dates from last year and they have different expiry dates.

“We have vaccines expiring in June 2022. As government, we have taken a stance to only accept vaccines that have more than six months of shelf life from now on,” he said.

He said the vaccine with the longest shelf life is Sinopharm, which is expected to expire in September 2023.

Namibia’s vaccination campaign has battled rampant hesitancy fueled by misinformation. Since the start of the vaccination campaign on 19 March 2021, the cumulative number of people inoculated with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for both adults and children is 482 544, of which 412 543 are fully vaccinated, translating to 23% of the total target population of 1 779 271. Namibia administers Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, J&J.

Nangombe said a great component of the disposed vaccines are those that were donated by various institutions which does give a good picture for the country right now and that resources are being wasted.

“Imagine how our development partners will take this. It doesn’t look good at all. We need to increase vaccine uptake. Government has liaised with religious and traditional leaders as well as journalists to spread the work on the importance of getting vaccinated,” stated Nangombe.

He added: “Vaccines are effective; we have been sharing information about that since the pandemic started. If you carefully observe, those in the intensive care units are not vaccinated. Namibians need to do away with misinformation and fake news and start listening to the voice of reason. It is important to get news from credible sources.” “Experts are saying the virus is mutating and that information is readily available across various platforms in the country. Forewarned is forearmed,” stated Nangombe.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that viruses like Covid-19 continuously evolve as changes in the genetic code (caused by genetic mutations or viral recombination) occur during replication of the genome.

A lineage is a genetically closely related group of virus variants derived from a common ancestor. A variant has one or more mutations that differentiate it from other variants of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses. A recombinant is a variant created by the combination of genetic material from two different variants. As expected, multiple variants of pandemic have been documented in the United States and globally throughout this pandemic. Nangombe highlighted that people think the virus is over while it’s not, stressing that government has allocated more than 300 vaccination points and about 800 000 doses are in stock for eligible persons.

Namibia is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 positive cases. So far, the country lost 4 030 people to Covid-19.

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