The Federal Government on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, denied reports that one million COVID-19 vaccines have expired in Nigeria.
Reports had it that about one million COVAX COVID-19 vaccines expired in Nigeria.
However, Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, said contrary to reports, the expired COVID-19 vaccines have long been withdrawn from circulation.
Ehanire said Nigeria has used about 10 million short-lived COVID-19 vaccines it got before the expiry date.
He assured that Nigeria does not dispense vaccines beyond the validity of expiry date by the manufacturers.
A statement by Ehanire said: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Health has been drawn to reports circulating in the media to the effect that some Covid-19 vaccines had expired in Nigeria.
“This Press statement is to properly brief the public and set records right. Nigeria has, of late enjoyed the generosity of several, mainly European
countries, who have offered us doses of Covid-19 vaccines out of their stockpiles, free of charge, through COVAX or AVAT facility.
“We appreciate the kind gesture of donors, but also communicated the challenge of short shelf lives, whereupon some manufacturers offered to extend the vaccine shelf life after the fact, by 3 months, a practice that, though accepted by experts, is declined by the Federal Ministry of Health, because it is not accommodated in our standards. Nigeria does not dispense vaccines with a validity extended beyond labeled expiry date. We continue to adhere to our rigorous standards. Donation of surplus Covid-19 vaccines with expiring shelf lives to Developing Countries has been a matter of international discussion.
“With better coordination, vaccines need not expire in the stock of Donors or Recipients. Nigeria has utilized most of the over 10m short-shelf-life doses of Covid- 19 vaccines so far supplied to us, in good time, and saved N16.4 Billion or more than $40 million in foreign exchange. The vaccines that expired had been withdrawn before then, and will be destroyed accordingly, by NAFDAC.”