Use of expired anti-COVID vaccines eyed

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Expired COVID-19 vaccines might still be used, depending on instructions from the Department of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Claudelia Pabillo, the vaccine distribution in charge of Negros Occidental, said.

Pabillo said the expired vaccines are being kept at the cooling facility of the Provincial Health Office under the required temperature, as advised by the DOH Regional Office 6.

She added that these vaccines cannot be considered a waste since there is a possibility that these can still be used, depending on the findings of the FDA, the government agency that gave the Emergency Use Authority to the manufacturer.

Unused COVID-19 vaccines might still be used depending on instructions from the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

“There are cases when (despite) what is indicated in the label, a manufacturer gives an allowance that it is still safe to consume for three or more months,” she said.

Pabillo last week reported that 1,462 vials of AstraZeneca vaccine, composed of 14,620 doses, have an expiry date of November 30, 2021.

These vials were part of the 4,530 that arrived Nov. 8, and more than three thousand vials were administered weeks before the expiry date.

She said that with sufficient supply of vaccines, the vaccine distribution office is adopting a system where vaccines that have shorter shelf life are sent to local government units first, unlike the past arrangement of “first in, first out”.

There are times when the latest batch of delivery has a shorter shelf life, so these vaccines are disposed of early. That is the new guidelines we are following, Pabillo said. — MML