The expiration date of thousands of doses of AstraZeneca extended by one month

Health Canada has decided to extend by 30 days the expiration date of thousands of doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that were due to expire on May 31.



Health Canada assures that its decision is safe for people who will be vaccinated with doses whose expiration date has been postponed.


© MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images
Health Canada assures that its decision is safe for people who will be vaccinated with doses whose expiration date has been postponed.

Ensuring that this extension is safe for people who will be vaccinated with these doses, the federal agency explains that the change will allow provinces and territories to use their existing stocks and allow Canadians to access doses of this much-needed vaccine».

Health Canada’s decision is based on an AstraZeneca document including product stability data, including from mathematical models.

These data have shown, says the agency, that the quality, safety and efficacy of the two batches in question would be maintained for an additional month».

The shelf life of these doses of vaccine, which can now be used until July 1, was initially set at six months.

Several provinces have already started administering a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine to those who received it in the first dose.

Video: Quebec can avoid a 4th wave of COVID-19, according to the INSPQ (Le Devoir)

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The expiry date of the vaccine was also of concern to the Minister of Health of Canada, Patty Hajdu earlier this week. She has sent a letter to her provincial and territorial counterparts asking them to send doses that they believe will not be able to inoculate before their expiration to provinces that may be able to do so.

Access to the second dose in Quebec and Ontario

In Quebec, administration of the second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine began on Saturday. To be eligible, you must be 45 years of age and over and have received a first dose of the vaccine for at least 8 weeks. The time interval between the two doses had previously been set at 16 weeks.

In Montreal, the doses available without an appointment have skyrocketed. At the vaccination site at the Olympic stadium, 1,200 doses were available on Saturday and the same will be on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. At the Martin-Brodeur arena, the 500 doses available on Saturday were also administered, and 250 will be on Sunday. At the Décarie square, in the Côte-des-Neiges district, 485 doses were offered on Saturday and hundreds more will be offered in the coming days.

The enthusiasm was the same elsewhere in the province, especially in Trois-Rivières, where staff were unable to take a lunch break. Some people waited two to three hours there to receive their second dose.

L’Ontario has resumed offering the vaccine this week, choosing an interval of almost three months between the two doses. The vaccine is there for those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19.

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