Canada will discard approximately 13.6 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because there were no takers either at home or abroad.
In 2020, Canada agreed to buy 20 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, and 2.3 million Canadians received at least one dose, mostly between March and June 2021.
Following concerns in the spring of 2021 about AstraZeneca’s rare but potentially fatal blood clots, Canada focused on using its ample supplies of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines.
In July 2021, Canada promised to donate the rest of its procured supply, about 17.7 million doses. But in a statement Tuesday, Health Canada said that despite efforts to meet that pledge, 13.6 million doses have expired and will have to be thrown out.
“Due to limited demand for the vaccine and recipient country challenges with distribution and absorption, they were not accepted,? the statement said.
In total, Canada donated 8.9 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, including 4.8 million doses from its main supply and 4.1 million doses purchased through the COVAX vaccine-sharing program.
Approximately 85 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, compared to 61 percent of the global population and only 16 percent of people living in the world’s poorest countries.