By Tamsin Brown •
Published: 03 Dec 2021 • 8:39
The Spanish government has let almost a million vaccines go to waste, allowing them to expire rather than donating them to other countries.
The rapid spread of the new Omicron variant has the whole world on the alert. While in the first world vulnerable people and the elderly are already receiving the third dosis of the vaccine, in Africa only 7% of the population is vaccinated. This is evidence that the Covax mechanism, an alliance of 190 countries with the aim of making sure the antidote reaches the whole world, is not functioning as it should.
This December, the Spanish Ministry of Health will have to need to throw away hundreds of thousands of doses that have expired in storage when they could have been donated to countries in the third world.
Specifically, there are 343,000 doses of AstraZeneca and around half a million doses of Janssen that have not been used. The exact number of Janssen vaccines to go to waste will not be revealed until the end of December, when all of the batches that have been returned by the Autonomous Communities and are currently in storage expire.
The government has not specified the exact amount of money wasted on so many unused vaccines, nor have they explained why they were not used or donated on time.
Since September, the government has had a larger amount of stock than usual in storage because the Communities have been returning doses as vaccination objectives have been met. The Ministry of Health is only using Pfizer and Moderna for the third dosis in Spain. Around 4.1 million people have already been vaccinated with the third dosis of Pfizer, and around 1 million with Moderna. Neither AstraZeneca nor Janssen is being used for the booster shots, which is why they go to waste if they are not donated to other countries.
This month marks a year since the first batch of vaccines, from Pfizer and BioNTech, reached Spain. Pfizer is the vaccine that has also been approved for use in 5 – 12-year-olds by the European Medicines Agency.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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