STOCKHOLM, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Sweden has discarded nearly 8.5 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19, local media reported on Sunday.
The discarded doses equal to about 20 percent of vaccine doses Sweden has procured, according to Swedish Public Health Agency's statistics, Radio Sweden reported.
Richard Bergstrom, Sweden's former national vaccine coordinator, told Radio Sweden that the total value of the discarded doses was 1.5 billion Swedish kronor (143 million U.S. dollars).
The main reason for doses being discarded was the fact that individuals had not had their booster doses as expected, Bergstrom explained.
"The bulk is doses that people have chosen not to take, in other words, the third, fourth, or fifth (booster) dose. These were already purchased and now have to be destructed," said Bergstrom.
As of Thursday, 88.2 percent of all individuals aged 18 or over have received at least one dose, while 86.4 percent have received two doses or more, Swedish Public Health Agency's statistics show.
Addressing the global COVID-19 vaccine disparity already in 2021, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that six times more COVID-19 boosters were administered a day globally than primary doses in low-income countries. Countries with the highest vaccine coverage "continue to stockpile more vaccines," while "low-income countries continue to wait" for the shots -- "a scandal that must stop now." ■