1,000 Covid jabs destroyed after man turns off fridge to charge phone

Almost a thousand doses of coronavirus vaccine had been binned after a cleaner unplugged a fridge so they could plug their phone in.

Burul Asylbekova, an official at Kyrgyzstan’s Central State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, said the incident occurred at a clinic in the capital Bishkek in April.

The ruined vaccines were part of a delivery of 20,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that had been donated to Kyrgyzstan by Russia, according to local reports.

Initial supplies of the Sputnik vaccine needed to be stored at -18C, but researchers scrambled to produce a version that can be stored in a domestic fridge, and in February they announced the development of the new version which remains usable at temperatures up to 2C.

Health minister Alimkadyr Beishenaliyev told reporters that one of the clinic’s cleaners is believed to have been responsible for unplugging the fridge and rendering the batch of vaccine unusable, reports local news outlet Khaljee Times.

Beishenaliyev himself came under fire in April after endorsing a potentially poisonous folk remedy for coronavirus that contained aconite root

Aconite has been used as a poison dating back as far as the days of the Roman Empire. Beishenaliyev said the coronavirus remedy containing aconite root had been devised by President Sadyr Japarov himself and concocted in the presidential residence.

The World Health Organisation issued a statement saying the drug, which has not undergone clinical trials, could not be recommended for widespread use by the population.

Kyrgyzstan’s vaccination programme kicked off in March, but there was significant resistance among the Kyrgyz public to initial supplies of the Chinese Sinopharm jab.

Now that the Russian Sputnik vaccine has become available in the country there’s significantly more uptake among the population.

The country’s health ministry announced last week that more than 50,000 of Kyrgyzstan’s 6.5 million citizens had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Their program is ramping up, with 2,470 new vaccinations reported yesterday alone.

According to official figures, Kyrgyzstan has recorded 105,469 cases and 1,821 deaths with the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, but authorities have admitted that the true figures could be far higher.

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