Health Canada has extended the shelf life of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that were set to expire next week.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed to Daily Hive that doses with an original expiry date of May 31 can now be used until July 1.
“Health Canada has issued an authorization to extend the expiry date of specific lots of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from six months to seven months, following the review of submitted stability data,” reads a statement from Elliott’s press secretary.
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On May 21, health officials announced that Ontario would move forward with administering second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19 are now eligible to get their second shot at an expedited 10-week interval.
The recommended time between AstraZeneca doses is 12 weeks. The province sped-up second vaccinations in an effort to use up doses before they expired.
Individuals who got their first shot after March 19 will be eligible to get their second dose after 12 weeks. A list of pharmacies offering second shots of AstraZeneca can be found here.
Earlier this month, Ontario paused first doses of the vaccine due to a reported increase in rare but serious blood clots following immunization.
Known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), data shows that the risk of developing the condition is greatly reduced with second doses of AstraZeneca.
To date, Ontario has seen 529,510 COVID-19 cases and 8,726 deaths.