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27 Million COVID 19 Vaccines Dumped By SA

covid vaccine dumped by government

South Africa Destroys R3.8 Billion Worth of COVID 19 Vaccines According to Health Minister, Joe Paahla

Destruction of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID 19 Vaccines Confirmed

In a sobering revelation that has sent shockwaves through the nation, South Africa’s Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, has officially confirmed the disposal of a staggering 27 million doses of COVID 19 vaccines, amounting to an eye-watering R3.8 billion in value. This unfolding saga sheds light on the complex challenges South Africa faces in managing its COVID 19 vaccine supply.

Growing Concerns Over the Disposal of Unexpired Vaccines

Phaahla’s announcement came in response to probing questions from EFF MP Yoliswa Yako. Yako sought clarity on whether the Department of Health planned to discard 23% of the acquired vaccines as they approached their designated expiration dates. The Minister’s response was unequivocal, indicating that even vaccines with a shelf life remaining would not be spared from the annihilation.

Health Minister Joe Paahla who has announced that millions of covid 19 vaccine doses have been dumped by the government
The Dustbin Doctor: Millions of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Dumped, Joe Paahla Reveals

A Startling Tally of Vaccine Wastage

The numbers behind this vaccine wastage are nothing short of staggering. As it stands, a grim total of 27,536,318 doses have met an untimely demise. This alarming figure encompasses a jaw-dropping 20,643,322 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and an additional 6,892,996 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. These numbers represent a deeply concerning 39% of all acquired doses, comprising both donated and purchased vaccines.

The Economic Toll of Discarded Vaccines

Beyond the human cost, the monetary implications of this vaccine wastage are significant. Health Minister Phaahla disclosed that the estimated worth of the discarded vaccines stands at a monumental R3.8 billion. This encompasses a staggering R2,501,583,564 worth of Janssen vaccines and R1,328,606,043 worth of Pfizer vaccines.

Procurement of Vaccines: A Balancing Act

To put this wastage into context, Minister Phaahla elucidated that South Africa had procured a grand total of 70,573,820 COVID 19 vaccine doses, a blend of donations and bilateral agreements. This impressive haul included 453,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines received as donations and an additional 30,848,000 doses that were meticulously purchased. Furthermore, 7,877,610 Pfizer vaccine doses were graciously donated, complemented by the acquisition of 31 million doses. As a benevolent gesture, 76,800 doses of the Paediatric Pfizer vaccine were also received as a donation.

Girl suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome which is a possible side effect of the vaccine, being treated by physiotherapist
A girl suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome being treated by a Physiotherapist

Strategies to Avert Future Wastage

Addressing concerns about preventing future vaccine wastage, Minister Phaahla acknowledged that extending the shelf life of vaccines beyond the manufacturer’s specifications was not a feasible option. SAHPRA also offered no concessions in this regard. The Minister underscored that COVID 19 vaccination had been seamlessly integrated into routine health services. Efforts are ongoing to promote vaccination, persisting until the final dose expires.

No Fault Compensation Scheme for Vaccine Injury

In a related development, the COVID Vaccine Injury No Fault Compensation Scheme has processed a total of 49 claims, disbursing R671,000 to claimants. This information was disclosed by Health Minister Joe Phaahla in response to inquiries from EFF MP Naledi Chirwa. Established to cover claims in the unlikely event of severe vaccine injuries, the Compensation Fund gained approval from the National Coronavirus Command Council as part of the vaccine procurement agreements.

Accountability in the Compensation Scheme: Guillain Barre Syndrome, Paralysis And Death

Phaahla emphasized that all 49 claims received by the COVID 19 Vaccine Injury No Fault Compensation Scheme had undergone meticulous adjudication and reached finality. Among these claims, 30 were found to lack evidence of temporary or permanent disability. The scheme disbursed R450,000 for the three fatalities attributed to Guillain Barre Syndrome following the administration of the J&J COVID 19 vaccine, R171,000 for a permanent disability claim, and R45,000 for a temporary disability claim. Additionally, a payment of R5,600 was made for a private doctor consultation claim. Six claims, while assessed, still await supplementary information.

a set of covid 19 vials sit on a table paahla says hundreds of thousands no fault claim compensation payments have been made
A set of COVID 19 vials placed on a table

Promoting Reporting of Adverse Events

Minister Phaahla elaborated on the department’s collaborative efforts with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to widely disseminate information on reporting adverse events following immunization (AEFI). These comprehensive outreach initiatives encompass social media campaigns, healthcare worker training programs, as well as webinars and media engagements. The Minister clarified that investigations were either underway or concluded for 3,075 clinically significant AEFI cases, with the majority demonstrating a temporal relationship but not a causal link to immunization.

Nigeria’s Parallel Struggles with Vaccine Shelf Life

In a parallel narrative, Nigeria is grappling with its own vaccine-related challenges. Faisal Shuaib, the head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), recently announced that approximately one million expired COVID 19 vaccine doses are slated for destruction. This decision comes on the heels of Nigeria’s acceptance of vaccines with limited shelf lives from international donor nations, a measure taken to provide a degree of protection to its citizens, given prior vaccine scarcity.

A Policy Shift in Nigeria’s Vaccine Acceptance

Shuaib further divulged that Nigeria would no longer accept vaccines with short shelf lives, citing a decision endorsed by a presidential committee. This policy shift underscores the paramount importance of procuring vaccines with extended shelf lives to forestall any further wastage.

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