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1 million Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines expire in Guatemala

An empty box sits with other empty boxes.
An empty box that once held Russian Sputnik vaccines for COVID-19 sits at a vaccination center in Guatemala City on Tuesday.
(Moises Castillo / Associated Press)
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Health authorities in Guatemala say more than a million doses of the Russian Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine have expired, because nobody wanted to take the shot.

Francisco Coma, the country’s health minister, said Monday that there was a “rejection” of the vaccine among the population, even though a lot of Guatemalans remain unvaccinated.

Only about 43% of the country’s 12.6 million inhabitants over age 11 are fully vaccinated, in a country whose total population is 17 million.

It was unclear whether people had particular doubts about the Russian vaccine or were unwilling to take any vaccine.

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“We have tried to make available all the vaccines of different brands to the public,” Coma said. “Unfortunately, there has been a rejection among the public to vaccination.”

The wasted shots cost the government about $11 million, Coma said.

An additional 1.7 million doses of the second Sputnik dose, which is different from the first, will expire this month.

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