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)

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.


“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.