Canadian health officials announced on Saturday that they were pushing back the expiration date of nearly 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine by one month.
Health Canada said in a statement that its approval to extend the shelf life of two batches of vaccine from May 31 to July 1 was supported by “scientific evidence.”
“This change will ensure that provinces and territories will be able to use their existing inventory and provide Canadians with access to much needed doses of the vaccine,” the agency said.
A spokesperson for Health Canada said as of May 22, there were approximately 49,000 doses of AstraZeneca in the country with an expiration date of May 31. CBC reported that most were in the province of Ontario.
Canadian health authorities had previously approved a six-month shelf life for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.
But they said they received information from the company on May 27, including “product stability and mathematical modeling data” that showed the two batches could be used safely and effectively for an additional month.
Several provinces this month announced their decision to suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people receiving their first vaccine, due to rare cases of blood clots.
But Canadians who received a first dose of AstraZeneca were able to get their scheduled second dose.
Just over 55% of Canada’s 38 million people have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 5% have received two doses.
In addition to AstraZeneca, vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for use in Canada.
© 2021 AFP