Kenya has announced that 800,000 Covid injections have expired in the country as no one wants the vaccine due to fertility concerns.
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On Wednesday, Kenya disclosed that approximately 840,000 Covid-19 vaccines acquired through donations had expired, citing hesitation and short shelf life for the vaccines going unused.
The AstraZeneca doses were provided to Kenya as part of the global Covax vaccine equity effort, according to a statement from Kenya’s health ministry.
The ministry stated that “any expired dose represents a missed opportunity to save a life.”
In Kenya, about 30% of the target population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, although adoption has dropped significantly in recent weeks as the disease’s presence has decreased.
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Earlier last month, 252,000 shots were given out per day across the country, but that number has now dropped to as low as 30,000.
According to the ministry, vaccination rates for the second jab have plummeted dramatically, and some Kenyans are refusing to take specific vaccines, particularly those made by AstraZeneca.
“We continue to witness vaccine hesitancy attributed to rumours and misinformation especially around fertility concerns,” the ministry added.
However, it was also noticed that the outdated vaccines came in January but expired on February 28, giving little time for them to reach anyone.
“Henceforth, Kenya will only accept donation of vaccines whose shelf-life is at least four months at the time of delivery,” the ministry stated.
Kenya has received almost 27 million Covid-19 vaccines, but only 17.3 million have been administered.
The ministry stated that it had sufficient vaccines on hand and asked more Kenyans to get the vaccine shot to avoid more expirations.
“We must all take individual responsibility in ensuring that when we have the opportunity to utilise available resources, we do not put them to waste instead.”
By the end of the year, the government hopes to have double vaccinated 27 million Kenyans. It has so far reached approximately eight million vaccinations.
According to government estimates, nearly 5,650 individuals have died from coronavirus since the first case was reported in Kenya on March 12, 2020.
The government said earlier this month that several Covid-19 regulations will be eased, including the removal of the requirement to wear a mask in public.