Health Canada has announced that it is extending the expiration date of thousands of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by one month.
The federal ministry said it had made the decision to help use existing doses and stressed that the decision was supported by scientific evidence.
Health Canada said the vaccine manufacturer made a submission earlier this week in favor of extending the expiration date of two batches of the vaccine from May 31 to July 1.
He says the submission included “stability and mathematical modeling data” that showed the doses would still be safe and effective for seven months instead of the original six.
A Health Canada spokesperson said there were 49,000 doses across Canada that were previously scheduled to expire on Monday.
The extension came as a welcome development in Ontario, where pharmacies were racing to deplete stocks of AstraZeneca injections and keep them from going to waste before the old May 31 deadline.
“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,” Health Canada said in a statement.