Paraguayan health authorities have admitted that over 720,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been lost due to expiration or open vials, it was reported in Asunción.
Of the 10,301,820 doses against COVID-19 received by the Expanded Program of Immunization (PAI), 721,127 had to be discarded. With a reference value of US$ 5 per dose, losses amounted to US$ 3,605,635.
The figure represented around 7% of the vaccines either purchased or received through donations.
PAI Director Dr. Héctor Castro explained these losses were within foreseeable margins and happens usually with vaccines against COVID-19 and also against other maladies. As per international standards, up to 10% of the
doses are expected to be lost, Castro argued.
Taking into account that the estimated percentage in Paraguay ranges between 6% and 7%, we can talk about expected situations within what a national vaccination campaign implies, Castro said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced last week that over one million people worldwide have died from the disease. We have surpassed the tragic milestone of one million deaths from Covid since the beginning of the year, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as he called on governments of all countries to double down on their efforts to vaccinate all healthcare workers, the elderly and other particularly exposed or vulnerable groups, in order to achieve 70% vaccination coverage for the entire population.
In January 2022, WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and their partners established the Covid Vaccine Delivery Alliance to facilitate the distribution of doses in 34 countries where vaccination coverage is less than 10%, all but 60 of which are in Africa.
Tedros insisted that one-third of the world's population is still not vaccinated, including two-thirds of healthcare workers and three-quarters of older people in low-income countries.
According to WHO statistics, 6.45 million deaths have been recorded worldwide since the first cases of COVID-19 appeared at the end of 2019 in China.