The Ontario government said Saturday certain lots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that were set to expire on May 31 can now be used past their original expiry date following authorization by Health Canada.
“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,” said Alexandra Hilkene, press secretary to the minister of health.
Hilkene said vaccines that were set to expire May 31 can now be used until July 1.
NEW: Health Canada approves extending AstraZeneca expiry date from May 31st to July 1 “following a review of stability data.” It means Ontario’s AZ doses, set to expire this Monday, are no longer at risk of spoilage. #onpoli
— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) May 29, 2021
Pharmacies and physicians’ offices had been rushing to administer thousands of shots this weekend ahead of the now-changed expiry date to avoid wasting doses.
The province started offering it for second shots to people who received the dose between March 10 and March 19 at pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor and Kingston, and at some primary care offices.
Approximately 90,000 people participated in the AstraZeneca pilot between March 10 and March 19. Many eager vaccine recipients reported frustration this week when trying to book second doses at pharmacies that were still waiting on delayed supply.
“Acceleration of AstraZeneca second doses will be continued with a 12-week interval, dependent on vaccine supply, with booking eligibility based on the date of the first dose,” Hilkene said Saturday. “AstraZeneca doses will be distributed across the province to be available for individuals at the 12-week interval.”
The province paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month due to an increase in reports of rare but deadly blood clots.
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Health Ministry clarifies death of a man and hospitalisation of a woman not related to the AstraZeneca vaccine
The Ministry of Health has clarified that there is no evidence to suggest that the death of a 53 year old man and the hospitalisation of a 65 year old woman suffering severe illness is related to the individuals getting the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a statement the Health Ministry says this has been determined by thorough investigations conducted by the Ministry’s clinical and vaccination safety teams.
They say the man received his first dose of the vaccine on 2nd June and he started experiencing severe cardiac like pain that evening and was taken to hospital where he unfortunately passed away prior to arrival.
Investigations conducted by the Ministry’s team have identified the man had a long history of cardiac pain which had not been medically assessed.
The Ministry of Health says assessment by his clinicians is that the man died of a heart attack.
They have also clarified that the 65 year old has a long-standing history of a seizure disorder and other chronic conditions making her susceptible to stroke.
The Ministry says she received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on 4th May 2021 and experienced symptoms consistent with her chronic condition the following day when she was admitted to the hospital.
The statement says the woman has since been discharged from hospital however continues to suffer medical issues.
They say it is apparent that her ongoing medical issues are associated to her existing chronic illnesses and not linked to her COVID-19 vaccination.
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says they continue to provide her family with proper medical advice for her health issues. Dr Fong says people do not stop getting serious illness while they are carrying out the vaccination campaign and adds the chance of getting a heart attack is not changed by vaccines.
He says the evidence based on a thorough investigation of both cases suggests that neither was linked to the vaccine and they were caused by the patients’ pre-existing conditions.
Dr Fong says one was an undiagnosed pre-existing condition and the other had a known pre-existing condition.
He adds the Ministry has established a monitoring system and response plan to detect any unexpected medical event after someone has received a vaccine which may or may not be caused by the vaccine.
Meanwhile 237,940 people in Fiji have so far received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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