Don’t be surprised if you receive a dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that’s a few weeks past its expiration date. There is no error and it is safe, even if it may seem surprising.
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A patient from Montérégie got quite a surprise on July 4th when he asked about the date of the vaccine he received at a pharmacy in Saint-Lazare in Montérégie.
Without telling him the exact date, his sister informed him that the month of May was written on the bottle.
“I’m freezing. I asked myself: am I going away?” says the man who finally took the dose.
What he didn’t know was that Health Canada had changed the vaccine’s shelf life last January. The maximum storage period has been increased from seven to nine months.
This new rule also applies to batches that have already been produced, provided the product is stored at a temperature between -25°C and -15°C.
“The final vials to be subject to this retroactive shelf life extension will be those with an August 2022 expiration date printed on them,” said a note Moderna sent to healthcare professionals.
For pharmacist Sandra Bordus, it is not uncommon for batches of medicines or vaccines to be extended by the manufacturer.
“I’m not afraid at all that it will be less effective,” she says, adding that the date change is because the product has been reviewed.
“It would be inaccurate to describe these lots as ‘expired’ because they were administered within the approved shelf life,” said Patricia Gauthier, CEO of Moderna Canada, noting that “these lots of Moderna have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada .” .
However, the patient who received his dose last July experienced no side effects.
“I didn’t even have pain at the injection site like with the first few doses,” he says, lamenting the fact that he wasn’t told sooner that expired vaccines are safe to administer.
As of July 11, almost 1.3 million Quebecers had received their fourth dose of vaccine, or 16% of the general population.