More than 18 million doses of vaccine against coronavirus have been vaccinated in Austria to date. Nearly 5.43 million doses have been donated to other countries.
The expiration date has exceeded 390,602 doses in the federal government’s possession (as of mid-April 2022). Of these, vector vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson accounted for a large proportion, the health ministry said as published by APA.
However, these will not be destroyed “but stored in a manner appropriate to the product, since in some cases a retroactive extension of the shelf life on the part of the European Medicines Agency is to be expected,” the ministry said. In addition, it said, efforts are being made to prevent the expiration of larger quantities of vaccine by donating it to other countries and consistently applying the first-in-first-out principle.
According to current figures from the ministry, Austria has donated 5,428,020 doses of vaccine to protect against Covid-19, of which 3,803,200 were donated directly to countries in need. The largest recipient was Bangladesh, which received just over 1.25 million AstraZeneca doses in two tranches. One million went to Iran in three tranches, and 345,000 to Ghana. Ukraine received 250,000 doses in the first tranche. Another 1,624,800 quantities were transferred to other countries through GAVI/COVAX – an initiative that aims to ensure equal and equitable access to Covid 19 vaccine worldwide. In addition, different doses donated to COVAX are still awaiting delivery to the respective recipient countries.
“Austria is willing to donate vaccines to third countries. However, it is evident that the demand in other countries has been decreasing in recent months, while the supply of donations is increasing simultaneously,” the Ministry of Health stressed. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC), for example, had announced it would not need vaccine donations again until the third quarter of 2022 at the earliest: “This indicates a current international saturation of the market.” HE SAID many EU member states face similar challenges, which is why the issue was discussed at the last EU health ministers’ meeting in Brussels.
When asked what happens to opened ampoules that cannot be used in their entirety immediately due to a lack of willing vaccinators and that have a minimal shelf life, the ministry stressed that the vaccinating agencies would “naturally be required to make the best possible use of the multi-dose ampoules and to avoid discarding them.” However, ready-to-use syringes – so-called single containers – are unfortunately not available. The priority is to vaccinate those who want to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, even if there are no reliable purchasers for all the vaccine doses in the ampoule: “In this way, every individual is protected in the best possible way. Since Austria is fortunate to have enough vaccines for everyone, vaccinations should not be denied based on logistical considerations.”
Due to low vaccination numbers, there may be isolated cases of discarding in Austria, but the ministry reiterated no evidence of systematic discarding. A vaccine that is no longer usable will be taken over and disposed of by disposal companies by the rules, the Ministry of Health assured.
- source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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