France is going to have to throw away 3.6 million expired AstraZeneca vaccine doses, equating to a total loss of €10.8million, the Direction Générale de la Santé has said.
France received 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine according to the health ministry, with further deliveries coming later on, but stopped administering it as a “precaution” in March while the European Medicines Agency analysed a potential link between the vaccine and blood clots.
The EMA later concluded that blood clots were a “very rare side effect” of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but public confidence had already been damaged in countries such as France and there were reports of people refusing the jab.
In the end, the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna became the most commonly used in France, which could explain the leftover AstraZeneca doses.
Some 218,000 AstraZeneca vaccines were already thrown away in France in March, and Le Monde reports that developed countries could have up to 240 million expired doses which can no longer be used or donated to developing countries.
France is currently calling for over-60s, care home residents and immunosuppressed patients to come forward for their second booster vaccine dose amid rising cases, although some have reported being unable to find a vaccination centre.
The EU has also recommended that people aged over the age of 60 and other vulnerable groups receive this additional dose.
France’s infection rate is currently 1,342 cases for every 100,000 people, and the positivity rate of tests taken is 33%.
According to Santé publique France, the R rate – the number of people to whom an infected person will pass on the virus – is 1.50, meaning that Covid is actively spreading among the population.
The peak of this seventh epidemic wave is expected to arrive around the end of this month.