Since the outbreak of the omicron variant, global inequity has been sparked once again.
The COVID vaccine inequity, coupled with vaccine nationalism, allowed the new variant to gain ground, which encouraged global leaders to put unfair blame on countries like South Africa, which successfully managed to detect the new variant.
But at a time when underdeveloped nations are finding it hard to get the required number of vaccines and facing discriminatory travel bans, another crisis of too much vaccine disease in developed nations is ramping up.
Expired COVID Vaccines: Choking the Vaccine Supply Lines of the World
Many developed countries want to donate vaccine doses because they do not have enough internal needs for them.
African countries are now hesitant to accept vaccines just because they are about to expire, and they cannot be administered quickly enough before reaching their expiration date.
Thus they are unwillingly putting a strain on their healthcare systems, which are already stretched to their limits.
The African Union and the global alliance of COVAX are trying to procure vaccines to help African countries using African Vaccine Acquisition (AVAT) and the World Health Organization, respectively.
Both of these organizations noted that most donated vaccines have short shelf lives that are given on too short notice to administer before the end of the validity period.
And this has already led African nations to take extreme steps. Nigeria’s government, for instance, burned a significant number of vaccine doses because they expired when people there were grasping for immunity at the same time.
This happened when only four million out of a massive two hundred million of Nigeria’s population were fully vaccinated.
World Leaders Must Provide Vaccination to Poor Countries Instead of Destroying Them
But the problem is not exclusive to poor countries only. Global vaccine giants, including America, the United Kingdom, and Canada, have also destroyed expired vaccines, which they could have easily donated to a deserving country had they decided to act promptly.
This mismanagement of vaccines costs the world millions of dollars, if not billions. Firstly the cost included in developing and manufacturing these vaccines is massive.
And destroying them means that this money has gone in vain. Secondly, this inefficiency is causing restricted vaccine confidence in poor nations, as many people in African nations now believe that they might get expired vaccines.
Finally, these sorts of poor vaccination attempts are hampering global efforts in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, which is hindering economic growth in itself, causing the loss of millions of dollars.
Had the world successfully managed to distribute vaccination before their expiry, the coronavirus crisis would have been much less severe in poor nations.
Low vaccination rates are also triggering the upsurge of new COVID variants.
This expiration of vaccines should be tackled on an immediate basis by global alliances led by COVAX.
All vaccination data should be monitored closely, and the vaccine doses that are near their expiry should be administered on a priority basis. This will allow global leaders to use the vaccine that would otherwise go into ashes and export the rest of them.
Right after the detection of the new variant, vaccine giants came to the front and claimed that they could develop a new vaccine.
While this is a welcome development, vaccine giants should also try to extend the shelf life of their existing vaccines technology.
This will allow vaccine administrators to manage the vaccine better that could avoid otherwise wasteful conditions.
Similarly, vaccine manufacturers should make the data of vaccine supply clear enough that governments can make the decisions of vaccine expiry before their terms actually expire.
These measures will ease the global vaccine crisis and help poor African nations suffering from the inefficiency of western leaders.