File photo

The Nigerian government has responded to a Reuters news report that a million coronavirus vaccines in the country expired last month, by saying they “had been withdrawn before then and will be destroyed accordingly”.

They did not specify how many jabs were now out-of-date.

Its statement went on to say it “now politely declines all vaccine donations with short shelf life or those that cannot be delivered in time”.

Only around 3% of Nigeria’s population has received a full course of vaccines against Covid – a low rate compared with other countries in Africa.

The now-expired doses originally arrived in Nigeria with a remaining shelf life of between four and six weeks, Reuters reported.

Nigeria received 800,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from Canada in September and 500,000 from France in October via the international Covax scheme.

These would normally be safe to keep for at least six months from the time of manufacture under suitable conditions.

It is not clear what remaining shelf-life these vaccines had when they arrived in Nigeria or whether they are part of the unused and now out-of-date stockpile.