WHO Africa Offers Clarity on 'Expired' Covid-19 Vaccines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has provided clarification on the issue of expiry dates of Covid-19 vaccines in general, and specifically on AstraZeneca vaccine doses produced by the Serum Institute of India - referred to as Covishield, that were delivered to several African countries and have since expired.

According to the global health body, vaccines, like all other medicinal products, come with a date of expiry and shelf-life determined by the manufacturer and approved by regulatory authorities. Given the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial emergency use authorisation on a number of Covid-19 vaccines, including the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine, was given by regulators when only six months worth of data for assignment of the expiration date was available.

The WHO's statement comes after 4,706,345 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed across the continent, of which 126,892 proved fatal and 4,255,182 resulted in recovery. Total vaccinations as of May 19, 2021 amount to 17,762,154.



Fewer than 2% of world’s COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa (file photo).

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