Nearly 840,000 coronavirus vaccines have expired in Kenya before they could be administered, the country’s Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe has said.
The AstraZeneca jabs were part of 2.2 million doses donated to the country through the global Covax scheme in January – with an expiry date of 28 February.
The minister said there had been two major drives to use them in time – and vaccine rates had risen – but a preliminary survey showed they had not all be used.
“Any expired dose represents a missed opportunity to save a life,” Mr Kagwe said.
In future, the country would only accept vaccine donations with a shelf-life of at least four months, he said.
Complacency and hesitancy – in particular over AstraZeneca – were also problems that needed to be tackled, the minister said.
“We continue to witness vaccine hesitancy attributed to rumours and misinformation especially around fertility concerns. These rumours do not have any scientific evidence and are therefore baseless and must be ignored.”
The take-up of second doses was also declining with only 30% of those eligible coming forward, he warned.
Nearly eight million adults in the East Africa nation, which has a population of 48.5 million, are fully vaccinated.