According to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, there are currently more than 100 000 Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine doses set to expire at the end of March. The department is currently exploring alternative ways to save these doses before the end of the month.
Unvaccinated youths in SA is the main issue
During a media briefing on Friday, Minister Phaahla revealed that the country’s youth is a problem when it comes to getting vaccinated.
Thus far, only 34% of South Africans between 18 and 34 have received at least one vaccine jab.
“We do have more than 20 million vaccine doses on stock, at the current moment we are pleased with the pickup in terms of the vaccinations as reported. There is definitely a risk that just over a 100,000 or so doses that will expire at the end of March may have to be discarded.
So, there is that possibility, we are looking at other alternatives.
We are hoping that with various efforts, there will be more people coming for vaccination. It will be a sad day if a significant amount of vaccine doses ends up being discarded, we hope it will not reach that.”
Alternative plans to save the Pfizer doses
Phaahla further stated that the Department of Health will do everything in its power to encourage citizens to receive their vaccines.
However, in the case that this will not be successful, alternative plans are being discussed in order to save the Pfizer vaccines before the expiry date.
And at the moment, the government is in discussion with COVAX and other World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Just in terms of planning, we are looking at various strategies, through discussion with various partners including COVAX and others within the WHO partners within the continent as well. We are working at various possibilities through which there can be some kind of exchange of vaccine doses through these various platforms so that if we see that a certain number of doses may not be utilised, we reach an agreement with a partner to take out doses and at a time when we are ready for return, we will get those back.”