100 Million of Covid vaccines to be thrown in the BIN – with more than 99 per cent of one brand almost UNTOUCHED – as experts lash wealthy Australia’s ‘ridiculous’ stockpile
- More than 195 million Covid doses are sitting unused in Australia’s stockpiles
- Less than a quarter of the 255 million the government purchased were used here
- About 40 million doses were donated to countries in the Indo-Pacific region
- Leftover doses could be obsolete as variant-specific jabs ramp up production
- Novavax was largely avoided by people, with less than one per cent taking it up
One hundred million Covid vaccines could be thrown in the bin in the coming months as Australia’s massive stockpile nears expiry – with the country having no country or company to give them away to.
The federal Government bought 255 million jabs at the height of the Covid pandemic – but has only used 60 million – which is less than one-quarter.
Australia donated another 40 million to other nations in the Indo-Pacific region, using UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) to distribute the doses.
Novavax, the most recent Covid vaccine offered to Australians after it received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in January, was largely avoided by Australians, with a staggering 99 per cent of the government’s order going untouched.
Just 162,000 doses of Novavax have been administered in Australia – compared to the 51 million the government ordered.
Novavax was not embraced by Australians, with 99 per cent of the doses (pictured) left unused
Critics have questioned why Australia and other wealthy nations ordered an oversupply of vaccines.
Public Health expert Deborah Gleeson (pictured) said Australia was one of many wealthy countries that had overstocked on their Covid doses and were now dealing with an oversupply of the jabs
Public Health expert Deborah Gleeson, from La Trobe University, told the ABC the country’s purchases were over the top.
‘Australia really participated in a bigger trend that we’ve seen worldwide of wealthy countries buying up far more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than they needed early on in the pandemic,’ Prof Gleeson said.
‘And this is a practice that unfortunately has continued.’
Australia’s massive vaccine stockpile could also soon become obsolete as pharmaceutical companies and biotech labs ramp up production and clinical trials of jabs that are variant-specific.
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler ordered a review into Australia’s vaccine agreements, in the hopes of figuring out what to do with excess supply.
‘If it does turn out that we have a surplus, then I’d want to have a range of options in front of us as to what to do with any surplus vaccines we were contractually required to take,’ Mr Butler said.
Health Minister Mark Butler (pictured) announced a review into the vaccine agreements last month
Fears about what is left could become obsolete as the new ongoing variant-specific vaccines are revving up production in Australia and worldwide
In an interview with 3AW on July 6, Mr Butler said Australia was naturally facing less demand for Covid vaccines.
‘We don’t need to be vaccinating 200,000 people a day across the country in the way we did at the peak of the middle of last year because we were so far behind,’ he said.
‘We really were far behind the rest of the developed world. It took us a while to catch up. Now you’re seeing a much lower number of vaccinations being delivered every day.
‘The real challenge is to get people lining up to get it. There’s more than five million people who are overdue their third dose, so it’s more than six months since they had their second dose. They’re still overdue their third dose and I encourage them to go out and get it.’
The dose glut comes a year after the federal government shored up vaccine reserves to ensure there were plenty left over if certain ones failed at the height of the pandemic.
Covid dose gluts in Australia
Australia used about 25 per cent of the 53.8 million Covid doses from AstraZeneca, with about 13,807,000 jabs administered.
Pfizer was more popular with about 41,699,000 doses given out from the 126 million ones purchased – 33 per cent of the brand’s supply.
Australia bought 25 million Moderna jabs, with only about 18 per cent used – 4,612,000 vaccines.
The federal government also ordered 51 million Novavax vaccines, but only about 162,000 – less than one per cent of what’s available – were put into arms.
Source: Australian Immunisation Register