Africa-Press – South-Africa. Health Minister Joe Phaahla has confirmed that 27 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, worth R3.8 billion, have been destroyed.
Phaahla said unused Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines have been destroyed.
Phaahla was responding to questions from EFF MP Yoliswa Yako, who asked whether 23% of the acquired vaccines in stock would be destroyed by his department as the vaccines were nearing their expiry date.
“To date, 27 536 318 doses have been destroyed. That is 20 643 322 doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and 6 892 996 doses of Pfizer vaccine.
“This is 39% of all doses that were acquired and includes both donated and purchased doses,” he said.
The minister said the estimated monetary value of vaccines to be written off was R3.8 billion. This includes R2 501 583 564 of Janssen vaccines and R 1 328 606 043 of the Pfizer vaccines.
Phaahla explained that a total of 70 573 820 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were acquired either as a donation or purchased in line with the bilateral agreement.
A total of 7 877 610 Pfizer vaccine doses were received as donation and 31 million doses were purchased.
A further 76 800 doses of Paediatric Pfizer vaccine were received as a donation.
Asked about steps to avert the wastage of vaccines, Phaahla said there was no possibility of any further extension of shelf life of the vaccines from manufacturers and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
He also said Covid-19 vaccination has been integrated into routine health services.
“The national Department of Health continues to promote vaccinations to the public until the last dose expires.
“Various demand creation strategies including vaccinating hard to reach communities through outreach services have been implemented to increase uptake of the vaccine,” Phaahla said.