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Donated Covid-19 vaccines expire in Kenya

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Nearly 840,000 vaccines against Covid-19 have expired in Kenya even before they could be administered to the public.

The Kenyan government announced in a statement on Wednesday adding that the vaccines are those that were received through donations, deploring a persistent lack of confidence in vaccination as well as the short life of the doses.

These are AstraZeneca vaccines received through the global Covax initiative, the health ministry’s statement reads.

“Every expired dose represents a missed opportunity to save a life,” it added.

About 30% of the targeted population in Kenya have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, but vaccination has slowed considerably in recent weeks, which have seen the prevalence of the disease decline.

At the beginning of February, some 252,000 anti-Covid doses were being administered daily across the country, but this figure has dropped to 30,000.

the ministry says that the administration of second doses has dropped significantly and that some Kenyans are refusing certain vaccines – mainly from AstraZeneca.

“We continue to observe a reluctance to be vaccinated attributed to rumours and misinformation, particularly around fertility fears,” the ministry writes.

It also notes that the affected vaccines were delivered in January with an expiry date of 28 February.

“Henceforth, Kenya will only accept donations of vaccines with a shelf life of at least four months at the time of delivery,” the text continues.

Kenya has received a total of more than 27 million vaccines against Covid-19 but has only administered about 17.3 million.

The ministry reiterates that it has plenty of vaccines in stock and calls on Kenyans to get vaccinated to avoid further losses.

The government aims to double the number of Kenyans vaccinated to 27 million by the end of the year, compared to the 8 million reached so far.

About 5,650 people have died from the coronavirus in Kenya since the first case was detected in March 2020, according to official figures.

In March, the government announced the easing of some measures to combat the virus, including the end of the requirement to wear a mask in public places.