Health Canada extends shelf life of AstraZeneca doses set to expire Monday by a month

TORONTO — Health Canada has extended the expiry date of roughly 45,000 AstraZeneca doses that were supposed to expire on Monday by a month, according to the Ontario government.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health released a statement stating that Health Canada had extended the shelf life of specific lots of AstraZeneca from six months to seven months, following the review of stability data.

“Vaccine doses with an original expiry date of May 31, 2021 can now be used until July 1, 2021,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The news comes as pharmacists and doctors have been rushing to administer approximately 45,000 doses that were set to expire on Monday.

About 90,000 people who got their first shot of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 became eligible to book their follow-up appointment on Tuesday.

The province suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month due to an increased risk of rare blood clots, but 10 days later decided to resume administering the shot for second doses so that vials sitting in fridges don’t expire

This week, pharmacists and doctors have been scrambling to get their hands on the remaining doses to administer them before Monday. And many residents were left feeling frustrated about the lack of clarity surrounding which pharmacies were offering the second shot.

On Friday, the government released its second dose strategy and reiterated that AstraZeneca vaccines could be administered at 10-week intervals for those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19. Second doses for everyone else who received a first shot of AstraZeneca will continue with a 12-week interval.

More to come. 

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