Uganda to destroy $7.3m worth of expired Covid vaccines

Bisola David
Bisola David
Uganda to destroy $7.3m worth of expired Covid vaccines

An audit report has revealed that Covid vaccinations worth 28.1 billion Ugandan shillings ($7.3 million; £5.8 million) are due to be withdrawn from health facilities and destroyed.

According to the report, the Ugandan government obtained around 5.6 million doses of these COVID-19 vaccines through a World Bank loan.

The report submitted to parliament on Tuesday by Uganda’s Auditor General, John Muwanga, reveal that an additional concern arises as drugs totaling $8.6 million, primarily HIV antiretroviral drugs, have also expired due to changes in World Health Organization recommended treatment guidelines.

According to the audit report, the National Medical Stores has a non-viable or expired stock of drugs valued at 33 billion Shillings, marking a substantial 153% increase from the previous year.

Authorities estimate that the overall losses from expired COVID-19 vaccines will exceed $78 million by the end of the year.

The chairman of Uganda’s drug procurement bureau, Moses Kamabare, described the difficult situation, saying, “Demand for Covid vaccines has now reached zero.

“COVID-19 vaccination orders are no longer being received. We expect more Covid vaccinations to expire if we don’t have any people in need or health facilities requisitioning them.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Diana Atwine, indicated in the report that the procurement of COVID-19 vaccinations was based on assumption as the pandemic continued.

The government pledged conditional World Bank financing to producers to develop and deliver vaccines, making halting the process impractical.

Atwine also revealed that money have been secured from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to supervise the retrieval and destruction of all expired COVID-19 vaccines.

Auditor General Muwanga underlined the need of smart emergency planning and asked the government to prioritise recovery activities, while encouraging the National Medical Stores to align the budget with demand in order to avoid medicine stockpiling and ensure timely distribution to health facilities.

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