The Government has dismissed allegations that the National Medical Stores (NMS) delivered expired COVID19 vaccines to a number of vaccination centres across the country.
The Minister of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, told Parliament that there were no vaccines with expiry dates of August 2021 being given out.
He however, confirmed that it was true that there are a number of AstraZeneca vaccines due for expiry September 30, 2021.
The Minister was optimistic that the Government would administer all the doses of the COVID19 vaccines before their expiry dates.
Baryomunsi was responding to concerns raised by Jonathan Odur, MP Erute South, that NMS had delivered expired COVID19 vaccines to a number of vaccination centres in the country.
“NMS delivered COVID19 vaccines to a number of vaccination centres in the country, specifically AstraZeneca Vaccines packed in 4 milli litres bottles (PV46709) with expiry dates written EXP 08/2021and 09/2021. In effect, these vaccines have already expired,” said Odur.
Odur said that the Program officer at the Ministry of Health, had directed the different vaccination centres to administer the said vaccines notwithstanding their status.
Odur called upon NMS not to administer the expired vaccines to the population, to recall the said expired vaccines and that government should not to receive vaccine donations whose expiry dates are due.
“The dangers of expired drugs and vaccines cannot be overstated. I have the following prayers; that the expired drugs should no longer be used to vaccinate the population, that NMS uses the same channels to recall this specific lot that has expired and that countries that are donating vaccines to us, should donate to us vaccines that have life in them,” he added.
Baryomunsi informed the August House, that NMS had two batches of vaccines. He said that the first batch, (batch No. PV46705) came into the country on August 18, 2021 with a total of 247, 680 doses.
He added that the second batch (batch No. PV 46706) equally arrived in the country on the same date with a total of 51, 841 doses.
“NMS distributed these vaccines stating on August 20, 2021 in all parts of the country. There are few doses remaining and information from the Ministry of Health is that by the end of next week the vaccines would be utilized all,” said Baryomunsi.
The Minister further noted that the guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health is that when vaccines are expired they have to be withdrawn and cannot be used on humans and added that the potency of the vaccine has significantly reduced and not necessarily because of safety.
The Ministry of Health in a tweet, responding to the matter raised by Odur said that no vaccines have expired as alleged. They confirmed that the uptake of vaccines is high and will be fully utilized by end of the month. They assured the public that more vaccines are scheduled to arrive between September and October 2021 to cover the target population.