Some 9 million doses of expired COVID-19 vaccines being kept in storage facilities in Indonesia will be destroyed, as the country winds back its anti-COVID measures.
The vaccines expired last month, the Indonesian Health Ministry said.
“When the vaccines were transferred to us, the average expiration date was between one and three months,” he said, adding that Indonesia accepted the free vaccines due to the outbreak situation at the time.
Sadikin cited the decline in the country’s vaccination rate as another cause for the vaccines being unused. The government’s initial goal was for 90 percent of the population to be fully immunized, and 80 percent to receive a booster dose.
“We discussed with [Prime Minister Joko Widodo] whether the vaccination rate was attainable,” he noted. “It would be more realistic to have 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated and 50 percent receive a booster shot.”
About 15.5 million of the rejected vaccines were destroyed, the U.N. stated, adding that the recipient nations had to delay supplies due to a lack of storage facilities for the vaccines.
“The majority of the donations to-date have been ad hoc, provided with little notice and short shelf lives. This has made it extremely challenging for countries to plan vaccination campaigns and increase absorptive capacity,” they stated.
“To achieve higher coverage rates across the continent [of Africa], and for donations to be a sustainable source of supply that can complement supply from AVAT and COVAX purchase agreements, this trend must change.”
They urged donors to release donated doses in large volumes and have a minimum of 10 weeks shelf life when they arrive in-country, as well as to inform recipient countries of the availability of the doses not less than four weeks before their arrival.