Why Expiry Date On COVID-19 Vaccine Vial Is NOT Accurate!

Why Expiry Date On COVID-19 Vaccine Vial Is NOT Accurate!

Find out why the expiry date on the COVID-19 vaccine vial is NOT ACCURATE, and why you should ignore 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 :

Expired dose being used for vaccination and luckily the son found out and stopped it.

For those who do not understand Bahasa Malaysia, here is a rough transcript

Doctor : There’s no problem (with the vaccine).

Man : I have proof!

Doctor : It’s okay if you want to dispute it. If you want to postpone the vaccination, you can come back later.

Man : When can we get it?

Doctor : This week, we are still using this current stock.

Man : Don’t misunderstand. I’m not scared. My father is scared because it’s expired.

 

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.

Read more : COVID-19 Vaccine Expiry Extension : What You Must Know!

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.

Read more : Malaysia Extends Shelf Life Of Pfizer + Sinovac Vaccines!

Vaccine Registration Manufacturer Newly Approved
Shelf Life
Sinovac CoronaVac MAL21046125ACSZ Pharmaniaga Lifescience S/B
Malaysia
12 Months
(+ 6 Months)
Pfizer-BioNTech
COMIRNATY
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).

Now that you are aware of the facts, please share this fact check with your family and friends, so they won’t get fooled by the misleading video and message!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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