Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has addressed concern over expired COVID-19 vaccines, with Assistant Principal Nursing Officer and Immunization Manager, Tecla Jn Baptiste explaining that there are no expiring vaccines in store.
In a recorded statement on Wednesday, Jn Baptiste observed that over the past weeks, there have been discussions surrounding the expiring of batches of vaccines.
She explained that like any other drug or product, vaccines have an expiration date that is the last day on which a product can be used.
According to the senior Health Ministry official, vaccines cost a lot, and are also in limited supply, especially at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, she disclosed that COVID-19 vaccines also have a short shelf-life – in most cases, approximately six months.
“In light of this, the Ministry of Health and Wellness ensures that vaccines logistics are planned carefully to avoid or reduce wastage of vaccines, and as such does not have any doses of the expiring batch of vaccines at its central stores,” Jn Baptiste stated.
She also disclosed that as of Tuesday, June 29, 2021, Saint Lucia recorded the administration of 30,815 first doses, and 21,956 second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine.
Jn Baptiste also said the Ministry of Health and Wellness is responding to the call for options of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Progress is being made towards the procurement of other COVID-19 vaccines to be included in the routine program” she stated.
She acknowledged that reports of adverse events continue to generate a level of concern and hesitancy towards the vaccine.
However, Jn Baptiste pointed out that the Ministry of Health and Wellness remains committed to ensuring that its monitoring system is robust, and that processes are in place to address any untoward events that may occur relating to vaccines.
“The safety of the population is our priority, hence the reason why only vaccines that are prequalified for use by the World Health Organization will be offered to the citizenry,” she explained.