ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will destroy around one million expired COVID-19 vaccines, Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said on Monday, adding his agency was working with drug regulator NAFDAC to set a date for their destruction.
Nigeria's health minister Osagie Ehanire said last week some COVID-19 doses donated by rich Western countries had a remaining shelf life of only weeks, adding to the country's challenges in vaccinating its people. Fewer than 4% of adults in Africa's most populous nation of over 200 million have been fully vaccinated.
Shuaib said the country had been accepting vaccines with short shelf lives from international donor nations in an attempt to use them quickly and provide some level of protection for Nigerian due to vaccine scarcity in the past.
Shuaib said Nigeria will no longer accept vaccines with a short shelf life, citing a presidential committee decision.
Last week, Reuters reported that around one million COVID-19 vaccines were estimated to have expired in Nigeria last month without being used.
Still, the World Health Organization's vaccine director Kate O'Brien said in a briefing on Thursday the proportion of wasted doses is smaller in countries receiving doses through COVAX than in many high-income countries.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Mark Porter and Bernadette Baum)