Poorer nations dump millions of close-to-expiry COVID-19 vaccines: UNICEF

13/1/2022 4:40:00 PM

Poorer nations dump millions of close-to-expiry COVID-19 vaccines: UNICEF

Poorer nations dump millions of close-to-expiry COVID-19 vaccines: UNICEF

BRUSSELS: Poorer nations last month rejected more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the global programme COVAX, mainly due to their rapid expiry date, a UNICEF official said on Thursday (Jan 13). The figure shows the difficulties of vaccinating the world despite growing supplies of

BRUSSELS: Poorer nations last month rejected more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the global programme COVAX, mainly due to their rapid expiry date, a UNICEF official said on Thursday (Jan 13).The figure shows the difficulties of vaccinating the world despite growing supplies of jabs, with COVAX getting closer to delivering 1 billion doses to a total of nearly 150 countries.

"More than a 100 million have been rejected just in December alone," Etleva Kadilli, director of Supply Division at UN agency UNICEF, told lawmakers at the European Parliament.The main reason for rejection was the delivery of doses with a short shelf-life, she said.

Read more: CNA »

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LinkedIn BRUSSELS: Poorer nations last month rejected more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the global programme COVAX, mainly due to their rapid expiry date, a UNICEF official said on Thursday (Jan 13).SINGAPORE: A couple from China who were sentenced to jail for obstructing COVID-19 contact tracers will be deported and barred from re-entering Singapore after their imprisonment, the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday (Jan 11).LinkedIn SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 pandemic has led to more stresses and challenges affecting Singapore's youths, but the Government is working to safeguard their mental health, said Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong on Tuesday (Jan 11).Of these cases, investigations into 17 of them have since concluded, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Tuesday (Jan 11).

The figure shows the difficulties of vaccinating the world despite growing supplies of jabs, with COVAX getting closer to delivering 1 billion doses to a total of nearly 150 countries. "More than a 100 million have been rejected just in December alone," Etleva Kadilli, director of Supply Division at UN agency UNICEF, told lawmakers at the European Parliament. The couple, who had contested their charges, discontinued their appeals earlier on Tuesday after almost two years of fighting their case in court. The main reason for rejection was the delivery of doses with a short shelf-life, she said. They continue to also be concerned about more enduring issues such as their studies, and work-life balance for working youths," he added. Poorer nations have also been forced to delay supplies because they have insufficient storage facilities, Kadilli said, including a lack of fridges for vaccines. Hu, who was in Singapore as a short-term visitor, was found guilty in October last year of one count under the Infectious Diseases Act of deliberately withholding information from contact tracers about his whereabouts and activities. UNICEF did not immediately reply to a query about how many doses have been rejected so far in total. The MP also asked how much has been recovered, as well as whether the Ministry of Home Affairs will provide a dedicated whistleblower channel to uncover more of such cases and set up a separate agency to investigate them.

In addition to rejected doses, many others sit unused in storage facilities in poorer nations. “Their immigration passes were subsequently cancelled and both were issued with special passes to facilitate their court proceedings,” said ICA. Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong ” survey conducted by TODAY , which indicated that the majority of youths here are adopting a range of health coping mechanisms, such as exercising (53 per cent), talking to loved ones (52 per cent), starting a new hobby (40 per cent) and being in the nature and outdoors (36 per cent). UNICEF's data on supplies and use of delivered vaccines show that 681 million shipped doses are currently unused in about 90 poorer nations across the world, according to CARE, a charity which extracted the figures from a public database. More than 30 poorer nations, including big states such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, have so far used fewer than half of the doses they have received, CARE said, citing UNICEF data." ICA added that it takes a “serious view” of foreigners who commit offences under the Infectious Diseases Act. Related: Commentary: Omicron shows why we need to get low-income countries vaccinated MORE SHIPMENTS COVAX, the global programme co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), has so far delivered 989 million COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries, according to data from GAVI, a vaccine alliance, which co-manages the programme. Such help-seeking behaviour is reassuring, so that our youths can receive help in a timely manner," he added. COVAX is the main supplier of doses to dozens of poorer nations, but is not the only one. ICA will not hesitate to take action against such foreigners,” the authority said. The amount disbursed was lower as the agencies had managed to detect the fraud early.

Some countries buy doses on their own or use other regional vaccine procurement programmes. Supplies to poorer nations have long been very limited because of lack of vaccines, as wealthier states secured most of the doses initially available from December 2020. Social service agencies also have programmes that engage youths through a variety of activities, such as sports, adventure activities and the performing arts. But in the last quarter, shipments have exponentially increased thanks to donations from rich countries that have vaccinated the majority of their populations. In January, 67 per cent of the population in richer nations had been fully vaccinated, whereas only 8 per cent in poorer nations have received their first dose, WHO figures show. The faster pace in supplies caught many receiving countries unprepared. "Our youths are our future, and our Government and partners in society are doing all we can to build an eco-system that can safeguard and strengthen our youths’ mental well-being and resilience. “Within the Commercial Affairs Department, there is a team called the Public Institutional Fraud Division that investigates fraud in the public sector, including the abuse or fraudulent application of government grants such as the Covid-19 grants.

"We have countries that are pushing doses that are currently available towards quarter two of 2022," Kadilli said. Of the 15 million doses from the EU that have been refused, three-quarters were AstraZeneca's shots with a shelf life of less than 10 weeks upon arrival, according to a UNICEF slide shown to EU lawmakers. Wealthy countries donating vaccines with a relatively short shelf life has been a"major problem" for COVAX, a WHO senior official said last month, as many doses were wasted. Reuters reported in December that up to 1 million vaccines were estimated to have .