The Federal Government of Nigeria has explained the rationale behind the destruction on Wednesday of over a million COVID-19 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines after they had passed expiry date.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, at Gosa Dumpsite, two kilometres away from Idu Railway Station, FCT Abuja, said that Nigeria had successfully withdrawn about 1,066,214 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines from across the country.

Nigeria joined other African countries like Malawi, South Sudan, Liberia, Mauritania, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Comoros, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to destroy its expired COVID-19 vaccines.

This has been attributed to a consequence of delays in shipment of vaccine doses, especially of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which meant countries could not roll them out before expiration.

Shuaib said, “As you can see, these vaccines have now been deposited by the Abuja Environmental Protection Agency. We have come through in our promise to all Nigerians to be transparent in our delivery of vaccines.

“That these vaccines did not expire before we took the decision to withdraw them today is an opportunity for Nigerians to have further faith in our vaccination programme, because we have lived up to the expectation of all Nigerians.

“We had the option if we were to take the advice of some experts to try and use these vaccines even beyond the label expiry date, but working together with our sister agency, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), we took that decision to destroy the vaccines at the point that they got expired.”

Director-General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, noted that Nigeria was the only country with a unique immunisation programme.

“In terms of what we are witnessing today, it is a continuous unfolding of the fact that the best is for all Nigerians, because Nigerians deserve the best in terms of quality of medicines, vaccines,” she said.

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