Zimbabwe is latest African country to reject batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses

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by Karen Faulkner, Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Following in the steps of African countries Malawi and DRC Congo in rejecting batches of vaccine doses, Zimbabwe has refused an African Union donation of three million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, NewZimbabwe reported on July 5.

Although Zimbabwe is dealing with a spike in cases, the government cited storage issues and concerns about possible adverse side effects from the drug as reasons for rejecting the doses.

In a letter to the African Export-Import Bank, Zimbabwe’s Finance Ministry permanent secretary George Guvamatanga acknowledged the allocation of three million Johnson and Johnson doses for August 2021. However, Guvamatanga said, the government was still in the process of establishing “the cold chain management framework for the vaccines.”

Additionally, Guvamatanga wrote, the government was working on “management of the anticipated adverse effects of the vaccines following inoculation.”

In March, Malawi received 102,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the African Union and used almost 80% of them, BBC reported.

However, the expiry date for the doses was 13 April, and officials said they would not be used in time. The government of Malawi, therefore, incinerated the doses, to reassure the public it was not using expired vaccines.

In April DRC Congo said it was returning 1.3 million doses of the 1.7 million it received from the Children’s Fund (Unicef) on the grounds it could not ensure the usage of the vaccine before the June 24 expiry date. The doses were to be redistributed to other African countries, the East African reported.

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