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Low-income countries reject COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca because of shorter shelf life

As the COVID-19 vaccines have become more accessible, many countries are turning away from Vaxzevria majorly because of its shorter shelf life. According to reports, Many low-income countries lack the infrastructure to distribute vaccines quickly enough across the country to avoid their expiration date.

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Since the beginning of the relief initiative, AstraZeneca has been one of the most crucial suppliers across the world. (Image Credit: Pixabay)

As supplies of COVID-19 vaccines have become more plentiful in developing and low-income nations, many are rejecting certain vaccine shipments. According to a document from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global vaccine supply effort COVAX reveals that low-income countries have declined millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria, Reuters reports.

Since the beginning of the relief initiative, AstraZeneca has been one of the most crucial suppliers across the world. According to media reports, out of 200 million COVAX doses assigned to 61 lower-income countries during a six-month period that will end in September, only a small quantity will be from British-Swedish pharma major.

Reportedly, countries refused to accept nearly 35 million AstraZeneca shots, opting instead for those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, according to the document of WHO.

As the COVID-19 vaccines have become more accessible, many countries are turning away from Vaxzevria majorly because of its shorter shelf life. According to reports,  Many low-income countries lack the infrastructure to distribute vaccines quickly enough across the country to avoid their expiration date.

Vaxzevria has a shelf life of six months, while Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine produced through AstraZeneca’s partnership with the Serum Institute, has a nine-month shelf life. The Pharma major has stated that it is working with regulators to get the same extension for Vaxzevria.

While the 61 nations requested a combined 70 million doses from Pfizer and 40 million from Moderna, they asked for only 16.5 million from AstraZeneca, as reported by Reuters. According to WHO’s document, there was a similar number of shots requested from Chinese vaccine suppliers Sinopharm and Sinovac.

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