- Minister confirms that AstraZeneca stocks have expired
- Says Moderna vaccines are next
Some COVID-19 vaccines have expired and more are set to expire in the course of the month of April valued at millions of Pula, the Minister of Health and Wellness (MoHW), Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, has confirmed.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Minister Dikoloti said consignments of Moderna will expire from 2 April onwards. He noted that Botswana is in the early stages of vaccination but phase three of it did not bear much fruit because the youth were hesitant to vaccinate.
The country is currently at phase four, which targets 13 to 17-year olds for inoculation. Dikoloti appealed to MPs to help in the campaign for taking booster shots, saying the uptake of the fourth shots is poor. “We have noted that Batswana are reluctant when it comes to getting booster doses,” he said. While vaccines are expiring at a time when Botswana ranks among top African countries with a successful rollout of vaccination against COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH) has not established exactly how many vaccines are affected.
Reached for comment, the Chief Public Relations Officer at MoH, Dr Christopher Nyanga, responded: “We are currently unable to make an exact computation of vaccine doses that will remain unused after the April 2022 expiry dates since the vaccination process is ongoing.”
Dr Nyanga added that the country has no immediate plans to order more vaccines. “Government has currently not taken a decision to donate or not to donate vaccines to other countries,” he said. “In the event such a decision is taken, communication will be made.” Even so, the minister added that he doesn’t have the total costs of the expired drugs but it’s something that he can get and share with parliamentarians at a later date.