40,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine have been thrown away in Wales after expiring
Around 40,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine in Wales have had to be thrown away because they have gone past their expiry date.
Throughout the vaccine rollout, Wales has had a very good record of making sure that a minimal amount of vaccines went to waste with under 800 doses a week being wasted on average from an overall delivery of 4.4m.
However during the week leading up September 6, some 40,000 doses went past their expiration date. Covid vaccines were initially labelled with an expiry date of six months.
It should be noted it is impossible to compare this performance to other UK nations because they do not publish the data. However the i newspaper has previously reported that 50,00 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were set to expire in just one region of England at the end of August.
The 40,000 doses of date expired vaccine represent 1.7% of the total AstraZeneca vaccine doses supplied to NHS vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Wales and in total the number of doses of vaccine unable to be used represents less than 1.5% of the total volume of vaccine supplied in Wales.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “We are proud of NHS Wales vaccine teams who have reduced waste to a minimum. Changes to age group vaccine recommendations and improved availability of other vaccines regrettably means a small excess of Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine doses have passed their expiry date.
"Our vaccine teams have ensured every possible dose has been extracted from every vial and they have administered at least three additional doses for every 100 doses they have been supplied. We believe our levels of waste are the lowest in the UK and we call on other nations to make their data available in the same way.”
Legislation prevents medicines including vaccines, supplied to GPs, pharmacies and NHS organisations re-entering the supply chain. This means under the requirements set by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) these doses could not be reintroduced to the supply chain for donation.
However, there have been calls for emergency measures to be put in to enable unwanted doses of Covid vaccines to be donated to other countries.
Whilst vials of AstraZeneca vaccine are listed as containing 8 or 10 doses it has been possible to obtain an additional 9th or 11th dose respectively from some batches. It has also been possible to obtain an 11th dose from some vials of Moderna vaccine. Prior to January 28, vials of Pfizer vaccine were listed as containing five doses and it was possible to obtain a 6th dose from some vials, since January 28 vials of Pfizer vaccine have been listed as containing 6 doses.
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