Thousands of AstraZeneca vaccines may be thrown away


Tens of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, currently in storage at family doctors’ surgeries, are likely to end up being thrown away after all, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

A group of doctors had a plan to ship the unwanted doses abroad to countries where they are desperately needed, but current legislation makes this impossible, the paper said.

‘The law states that medicines which have been delivered to doctors for their patients cannot be traded in, even if they are free and for a good cause,’ a health ministry inspector told the paper.

Demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine has plummeted since the government decided people who had been given one dose could opt for Pfizer for the second, because of the potential health risks. AstraZeneca vaccines had been largely reserved for people in their early 60s and that vaccination campaign is also coming to an end.

Public health institute RIVM is aware of 39,000 superfluous doses but that is likely to increase. According to the Dutch family doctor association, some 100,000 to 200,000 doses are being kept in family doctors’ fridges across the country.

On Monday, the health ministry said it was donating the 745,000 AstraZeneca doses still in storage in Oss to other countries, including Namibia and Tanzania.

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