Health authorities in Malawi have incinerated 19,610 expired doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, saying it will reassure the public that any vaccines they do get are safe. It is the first African country to publicly do this.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), part of the AU, told a news conference late last month that the shots could be used until July 13, based on a further analysis conducted by manufacturers, the Serum Institute of India (SII).
He and the WHO also urged African countries not to waste vaccines donated to them.
Uptake of the vaccine in Malawi has been low and health workers hope the move will increase public confidence.
Out of a population of about 18 million people, the country has recorded 34,232 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,153 deaths. Malawi received 102,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it acquired from the African Union on 26 March and used almost 80% of them.
Malawi's health workers struggled to use all of the vaccine doses before their expiry date for a variety of reasons. These ranged from people's reluctance to take the vaccine to inexperience in rolling out a vaccine programme for adults.