Accra-based Joy News is reporting that more than 1.3 million coronavirus vaccines that had been supplied to the Democratic Republic of Congo are to be re-routed to other countries, including Ghana, by UNICEF.
According to the report, the reason for the rerouting is that the DRC has not been able to administer these vaccines to its population – the Central African country had received 1.7million vaccines but has only been able to administer 400,000.
The remaining 1.3million will expire next month (May 2021). It is not exactly sure when in May the vaccines will expire, given the fact that April 2021 had already ended.
UNICEF is currently leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation ever on behalf of the global COVAX facility of the World Health Organization, to deliver Covid-19 vaccines across Africa.
Interestingly, DR Congo’s population is almost 87million and yet its authorities were only able to administer 400,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccines.
The apparent lack of interest by the population is not only a Congo thing. as UNICEF’s Regional Advisor for Health Systems Strengthening for West and Central Africa, Susie Villeneuve lamenting the lack of vaccine penetration in West and Central Africa.
“Only 26 percent of vaccines delivered to Western and Southern African countries have been administered. This is something we have to handle carefully to see why systems are not performing to at least use the vaccines that the countries are receiving,” she said.
Meanwhile, these AstraZeneca vaccines have been rejected by dozens of countries worldwide and particularly in the European Union, after it was discovered to be causing deadly blood clots in some of the recipients.
Ghana has already taken delivery of some 600,000 doses of the same vaccine. The country was unable to administer all before some of it expired.