A massive quantity of out-of-date AstraZeneca vaccines was trashed at a dump site in the city of Abuja on Wednesday, with a bulldozer seen crushing the medicines in footage obtained by Reuters. Officials later announced the move, an apparent bid to quell fears that the expired immunizations were being administered to residents.
“We have successfully withdrawn 1,066,214 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccines. We have kept our promise to be transparent to Nigerians. The destruction today is an opportunity for Nigerians to have faith in our vaccination program,” said Faisal Shuaib, executive director at Nigeria’s the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Shuaib also told reporters that, despite knowing the doses would expire in just two weeks, Nigeria was effectively forced to take the donations, as Covid-19 vaccines remain scarce across much of Africa. The shots were delivered from multiple European countries participating in the COVAX vaccine sharing program.
Following a presidential committee meeting, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said his country would no longer accept immunizations with such short shelf-lives.