South Africa is to dispose of more than 90,000 Pfizer Covid vaccines at the end of this month, when they are due to expire.
It is the country’s first such disposal of coronavirus-related material.
Another 900,000 doses are due to expire in May, and 10.5 million more by the end of July.
The health department says it has enough stock in hand of both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to vaccinate all eligible citizens. But the Pfizer vaccine has a short shelf life of nine months compared to Johnson & Johnson’s 24 months.
South Africa, which has been the epicentre of the Covid outbreak on the continent, has imported or received donations of more than 39 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the last year and more than 20 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The authorities are also facing vaccine hesitancy as the pandemic weakens.
About 44% of South African adults have been fully vaccinated against Covid, which falls below an initial target of 67%.