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Short shelf lives see poor nations decline millions of Covid shots, UN says

Poor countries refused to take around 100 million donated COVID-19 vaccine doses in December alone, chiefly due to their short shelf life, the United Nations says.

The World Health Organization has slammed the deadly “moral shame” of high-income countries hogging vaccine supplies then offloading near-expired doses to shot-starved poorer nations.

Stark images last month of Nigeria disposing of more than a million AstraZeneca doses that had gone bad highlighted the issue.

Expired COVID-19 vaccines are destroyed by government officials in Abuja, Nigeria. on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga)

UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund, uses its vaccine logistics expertise to handle delivery flights for Covax, the global plan set up to ensure a flow of doses to poorer nations.

In December, “we had almost more than 100 million doses that have been refused because of countries’ capacities,” UNICEF’s supply division director Etleva Kadilli tells a European Parliament committee. “The majority of refusals are due to product shelf life.”

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