Find out why the expiry date on the COVID-19 vaccine vial is NOT ACCURATE, and why you should NOT look at it.
Claim : Vial Expiry Date Proves That The Vaccine Has Expired!
People have been claiming that they were given expired COVID-19 vaccines.
Sometimes, they misunderstood the expiry date on their vaccination card, and sometimes it’s because the expiry date on the vial showed that the vaccine has expired.
Today, a video went viral on WhatsApp, together with a new claim of getting expired COVID-19 vaccine :
For those who do not understand Bahasa Malaysia, here is a rough transcript
Why Expiry Date On COVID-19 Vaccine Vial Is NOT Accurate!
This is very likely another example of people misunderstanding the vaccine expiry date. As they say, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing“.
While people are now clever enough to check the vaccine vial for the expiry date, many remain oblivious to the fact that it is no longer accurate!
The truth is – no one is getting expired COVID-19 vaccine, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : FDA Extended Pfizer Vaccine Shelf Life
It is unknown what vaccine the man’s father was supposed to receive, but it was most likely the Pfizer booster dose.
On 22 August 2021, the US FDA agreed to allow Pfizer to extend the shelf life of their COVID-19 vaccine by 3 months – from 6 months to 9 months.
All existing vaccine doses from that point onwards can be used for an additional 3 months beyond their printed expiry dates, as long as they are stored between -90ºC to -60ºC.
The new official recommended shelf life for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is therefore 9 months.
Fact #2 : Malaysia Extended Pfizer + Sinovac Shelf Lives
On 16 November 2021, Malaysia officially announced the shelf life extension of both Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines.
This decision was made, based on ongoing stability data, and also the updated FDA and manufacturers’ shelf life recommendations.
Therefore, you may be given a vial with an “expired date”, and the dates on your vaccination card / certificate will NOT match what was printed on the vial.
|Sinovac CoronaVac||MAL21046125ACSZ||Pharmaniaga Lifescience S/B
(+ 6 Months)
|MAL21016022AZ||Pfizer Belgium NV, Belgium||9 Months
(+ 3 Months)
|MAL21036039ASZ||BioNTech GmbH, Germany|
Fact #3 : Printed Expiry Dates Are NO LONGER Accurate
Many COVID-19 vaccines were shipped before their expiry dates were extended by various health authorities. Therefore, the printed expiry dates on vaccine vials are NO LONGER accurate.
As vaccine expiry date extensions need to be approved by the health authority in individual countries, it takes time for vaccine manufacturers to print new labels for different countries.
That’s why Malaysia (for example) gives vaccine manufacturers 6 months to update the shelf life that is printed on their vaccine vials.
So please do NOT be surprised if new COVID-19 vaccine vials continue to come with shorter shelf life labels for several more months.
Fact #4 : Expiry Date Is By Vaccine Batch
I should also point out that the expiry date changes with each batch of the COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective of whether it’s from Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac.
Hence, the Ministry of Health points out that this expiry date of your first dose has NO CONNECTION with your second dose.
Irrespective of what vaccine you receive, your vaccine doses will likely be from different batches. Their expiry dates will therefore be different.
Fact #5 : Accurate Expiry Date In Vaccination Card / MySejahtera
If you really want to know if you received an expired COVID-19 vaccine, check your vaccination card or MySejahtera.
The actual and correct expiry date will be written in your COVID-19 vaccination card, and posted in your MySejahtera status (as shown in the example above).
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