Peru calls for vaccine expirations past three months

Peru calls for vaccine expirations past three months

LIMA, January 15, Reuters -- Peru's health minister Hernando Cevallos has called for COVID 19 vaccine companies to extend expiration dates past the current three months to reduce the risk of losing doses.

In a telephone interview on Saturday, Cevallos said that the government had asked one of the laboratories that supplies vaccines to Peru to deliver them with expirations of up to six months. But he said the laboratory refused, saying that the expiration dates were pre-set.

The minister did not give the name of the laboratory, citing the confidentiality of the purchase agreements.

Peru, with one of the highest per capita COVID 19 mortality rates in the world, has signed vaccine contracts with China's Sinopharm, the U.S. companies Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc. and UK-based AstraZeneca Plc.

The situation that the affected countries are facing must be understood, particularly in Latin America due to the economic difficulties we're going through, according to Cevallos.

Peru is facing a third wave of the virus triggered by the Omicron variant. The country has just over 80% of its target population vaccinated with two doses of COVID 19 and is in the middle of a booster vaccination campaign.

The government expects to start vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 next week.

There is no penalty if there is a delay in the arrival of the vaccines. Cevallos said that there was no flexibility in expiration dates after they entered the country. Not only do you have to consider the date it is produced, but you also have to consider the date when it arrives in the country. Some vaccine batches have not arrived on time. In Peru, the COVID 19 cases have killed almost 2.5 million, causing 203,302 deaths. Peru has a population of 33 million.