Kerrisa Wilson
Web Content Writer, CP24

@ Kerrisawilson

Health Canada has extended the expiration date of around 45,000 AstraZeneca cans, which were supposed to expire on Monday, by one month, according to the Ontario government.

On Saturday, the Department of Health released a statement that Health Canada had extended the shelf life of certain lots of AstraZeneca vaccines from six to seven months after reviewing stability data.

“Vaccine doses with an original expiration date of May 31, 2021 can now be used until July 1, 2021,” a health ministry spokesman said in a statement.

“On May 27, 2021, Health Canada received a filing from AstraZeneca containing data on product stability and mathematical modeling that indicated the quality, safety and efficacy of the two lots would be maintained for an additional month for a total of up to seven Months, “was the explanation.

“This change will ensure provinces and territories are able to use their existing inventory and provide Canadians with access to much-needed doses of the vaccine.”

The news comes as pharmacists and doctors rushed to give approximately 45,000 doses, which were due to expire on Monday.

About 90,000 people who made their first recording of AstraZeneca between March 10th and 19th were able to book their follow-up appointment on Tuesday.

These people attended the initial launch of AstraZeneca vaccines at participating pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor and Kingston.

A list of approved pharmacies that have received second doses can be found on the provincial government website. Primary care offices and pharmacies may also turn to eligible Ontarians.

Dr. Dirk Huyer, member of the task force for the distribution of vaccines and coordinator of the provincial outbreak response, said in an interview with CP24 on Saturday afternoon that he was satisfied with the decision.

“I think Health Canada is driven by safety. And they are driven by the principles of an adequate, safe vaccine. I can’t speak to their specific process, but they carefully evaluate all vaccine submissions and vaccine products to make sure it does.” Fall is safest, “said Huyer.

When asked about concerns about the timing of the renewal, Huyer said he was confident the agency looked at all of the manufacturer’s data and information in assessing the vaccine’s expiry.

“I think Health Canada has a thorough understanding of AstraZeneca and all of its vaccines. They regularly monitor, check for, and evaluate safety,” he said. “We have a robust security oversight process in Ontario and Canada,” said Huyer.

The province stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month due to an increased risk of rare blood clots. However, 10 days later she decided to continue administering the shot for the second dose so that the bottles in the refrigerator would not drain

This week pharmacists and doctors have tried to get their hands on the remaining doses to be given before Monday.

Many residents were frustrated by the lack of clarity as to which pharmacies offered the second shot.

“We didn’t start getting vaccines at Toronto pharmacies until late Thursday afternoon, and then we got top-ups all Friday because they’re slowly being released by the dealer as they go through this quality assurance. Process and review temperature logs, ”Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, told CP24 on Saturday morning. According to Bates, pharmacies are expecting more vials later on Saturday and Monday.

Before Health Canada announced the extended expiration date, Bates said it was concerned about some doses that may spoil due to the temporary pause in vaccine administration earlier this month.

“Science has moved on, and that was part of the reason we wanted to take the first-dose vaccination break a few weeks ago. That has led to some of these. There is no question that the delay in pharmacy publication increases the likelihood of waste, ”said Bates.

“But we are ready to do whatever we need to to extend working hours.” Many pharmacies close on Sundays and stay open to take in patients [..] ”he added.

Toronto pharmacist Mina Maseh says Health Canada needs to properly explain its decision to extend the expiration date of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He said he had received a lot of questions from customers who wanted to take the vaccine but were reluctant to ask questions because of the expiration date.

“We’re a bit frustrated. Everything keeps coming from the left field. Nobody really tells us anything until it hits the news,” Maseh said in an interview with CP24.

“Health Canada, I’m sure they did their proper due diligence and regulatory inspections, but if they don’t go public and explain this, I don’t know how they expect healthcare professionals to take all of these steps.” Questions, “he continued.

Maseh urged the federal agency to step up and give pharmacists an explanation so they can safely pass it on to their patients, he said.

“Let’s stop putting doubts in people’s eyes and thoughts because they already had doubts,” he said. “Why are we causing more hesitation for more patients with a last-second announcement?”

“If they don’t provide [the data], there’s nothing we can do. We’re not even going to put a patient at risk who may not have been properly evaluated,” Maseh continued.

162 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor are expected to deliver second doses of AstraZeneca this weekend.

On Friday, the government released its second dose strategy, saying that AstraZeneca vaccines could be given at 10-week intervals for those who received their first dose between March 10th and 19th. In the meantime, second doses for everyone else who received a first dose of AstraZeneca will be continued with an interval of 12 weeks.

The province does not offer AstraZeneca shots as a first dose to third parties, except in very limited circumstances when someone is allergic to the licensed mRNA vaccines given in Ontario.

Ontario received 254,500 doses of AstraZeneca for the week of May 17, which will support the second doses 12 weeks apart.

Full vaccine coverage at

Coronavirus Vaccination Tracker: How Many People in Canada Received Shots?

Ontario is shortening the gap between COVID-19 vaccine doses, with the majority of residents fully vaccinated by the end of summer

How Ontario’s reopening plan compares to other provinces

Ontario unveils a three-step reopening plan starting with outdoor activities to ease pandemic restrictions

This interactive map shows you vaccination rates in each neighborhood of Toronto