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The spoilt vaccines were part of a package of 20,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine donated to ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan by Russia.

Kyrgyzstan began mass vaccinations in March using shots of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China but online polls and queues at health clinics suggest that demand for the Russian vaccine is far higher.

The health ministry has come under fire over the incident, which authorities disclosed this week but that occurred at a clinic in the capital Bishkek in April.

Burul Asylbekova, an official at the Central State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, said the doses had to be written off after someone unplugged a fridge containing the vaccines in order to charge a phone.

Health Minister Alimkadyr Beishenaliyev said it was possible a cleaner was responsible.

Beishenaliyev was heavily criticised in April for championing a solution based on a poisonous root as a cure for the coronavirus.

Beishenaliyev said the mixture containing the aconite root was concocted by President Sadyr Japarov and brewed in the presidential residence.

Kyrgyzstan has recorded 101,878 cases and 1,735 deaths with the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, but authorities have admitted that official numbers do no capture the full toll of the disease.

Health authorities said last week that more than 50,000 citizens have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the country of 6.5 million people.

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