Health Canada extends expiration date of ‘specific’ AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine lots in Ontario

Ontario says Health Canada has extended the expiration date on “specific lots” of AstraZeneca vaccines on Saturday to seven months from six months.

The province had been at-risk of wasting several thousand doses of AstraZeneca.

“Vaccine doses with an original expiry date of May 31, 2021 can now be used until July 1, 2021,” said a spokesperson for Ontario’s minister of health.

Read more: Ontario pharmacies brace for busy weekend as they race to use all expiring AstraZeneca vaccines

Ontario had begun to offer the second dose of AstraZeneca at a 10-week interval for those who got their first dose between March 10 and 19. Following that, accelerated second doses were to be offered at a 12-week interval.

Ontario received just over 250,000 AstraZeneca doses the week of May 17.

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Solicitor Sylvia Jones had been asked how many doses were potentially to be wasted come Monday, but she would not give specifics, saying it was not a “clear cut” answer.

The Ontario Pharmacy Association said participating locations were preparing for a busy weekend as they hoped to administer thousands of vaccines before they were set to expire Monday and avoid any wastage.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Ontario pharmacies waiting on AstraZeneca vaccine shipments

Quality checks held up the delivery of thousands of shots well into Thursday, as the province worked to redistribute a stockpile of 45,000 doses expiring on Monday and 10,000 more expiring in June.

Approximately 31,600 doses had been delivered to pharmacies on Thursday, according to the province, with 11,500 doses already administered. The rest of the doses were expected to be delivered by the end of the day Friday.

Those looking to book their second shots can find participating pharmacies here.

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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