According to the United Nations, over 15.5 million of the rejected vaccines were destroyed. Now, nine million more COVID vaccines in Indonesia are set to be destroyed after expiring as vaccination rates decline.
As Indonesia’s anti-COVID regulations are eased, 9 million doses of outdated COVID-19 vaccines will be discarded in storage facilities.
The immunizations were due to expire last month, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
In a Tuesday conference, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin remarked, “Our storage facilities are feeling the strain as they’re filled with expired doses.” “That’s especially as we have a new campaign to push for basic vaccination for children across the country.”
As per local news media KOMPASS.com, the bulk of the vaccinations were donated from developed nations before their expiration dates.
“When the vaccines were transferred to us, the average expiration date was between one and three months,” he added, adding that Indonesia accepted the free vaccines because of the outbreak scenario at the time.
Another reason for the vaccines being unused, according to Sadikin, is a drop in the country’s vaccination rate. The government’s original goal was for 90% of the population to be completely vaccinated, with an additional 80% receiving a booster shot.
“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.”
On May 18, the Indonesian government relaxed the outside mask requirement for foreign passengers and dismissed pre-departure coronavirus testing. According to Reuters, masks will be required for indoor activities and public transportation.
Indonesia is not the only place where donated vaccines have been thrown away. Nigeria declared in December of last year that it will no longer accept donated vaccines with short shelf life after destroying over a million outdated COVID-19 doses.
According to Reuters, the United Nations announced in January that poor nations refused more than 100 million donated COVID-19 vaccine shots due to their limited shelf life.
According to the United Nations, over 15.5 million of the rejected vaccinations were destroyed, and recipient countries had to postpone shipments due to a lack of vaccine storage facilities.
The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative published a joint statement in November last year stating that the quality of donations “needs to improve.”
“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 recommended donors to release donated doses in substantial quantities with a minimum shelf life of 10 weeks when they arrive in-country, and to notify recipient nations of the doses’ accessibility at least four weeks before they arrive.