Health Canada extends shelf life of AstraZeneca to July

45,000 doses were set to expire Monday

Ontario pharmacists and doctors can take a breather.

Health Canada said on Saturday the expiry date of about 45,000 AstraZeneca doses that were set to expire on Monday will be extended to July, according to the provincial government.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health released a statement stating that Health Canada had extended the shelf life of specific lots of AstraZeneca from six months to seven months, following the review of stability data.

“Vaccine doses with an original expiry date of May 31, 2021 can now be used until July 1, 2021,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

About 90,000 people who got their first shot of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 became eligible to book their follow-up appointment on Tuesday. The pilot project took place in Toronto, Peel, Windsor and Kingston.

The province had suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month due to an increased risk of rare blood clots, but reversed the decision a little over a week later and decided to resume administering the shot for second doses so that vials sitting in the fridge don’t expire.

Quality checks held up the delivery of thousands of shots, and many weren’t delivered until late this week.

On Friday, the Ford government laid out its second dose strategy and said AstraZeneca vaccines could be administered at 10-week intervals for those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19. For everyone else who received a first shot of AstraZeneca, second doses will continue with a three-month interval.