Now, there are concerns that some countries will be unable to distribute the UK’s surplus AstraZeneca shots in the narrow window available.
“We are setting up African countries to fail with leftover vaccines,” said Nanjala Nyabola, a political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. “This should never have happened – if the vaccines were made available to purchase fairly none of this would even arise.
“Expecting a system in a poor country to distribute 817,000 vaccines in a matter of a few weeks, in the context of all these other challenges, is setting them up to fail,” she told The Telegraph.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) declined to comment directly on when the coronavirus vaccines will expire, but said countries had assured the UK that they would be able to distribute them in time.
An official involved in the Covax rollout, who confirmed that much of the first tranche of doses shared by the UK will expire at the end of September, added: “Covax requires there’s at least two months until expiry of doses, and that countries have the capacity and systems in place to immediately absorb supply and rollout.”