Are we being given EXPIRED doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?
Take a look at the viral message, and find out what the FACTS really are!
Claim : We Are Being Given EXPIRED Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine!
This message is going viral on WhatsApp, claiming that the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) is giving people EXPIRED doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Yesterday I had my Pfizer booster at Pantai Hospital. I particularly wanted to know what was the expiry date of the vaccine they’re dosing. Checked the label on the vaccine bottle. It showed clearly 2/22.
I was later shocked to see what was written on the vaccination card. It stated 31/5/2022. I reprimanded the MO at the counter and querried her about the expiry date. She replied by showing me a letter sent out by KKM instructing all depts to extend the expiry date by 3 months.
Can you imagine that. They can even ignore and overule the recommendations of the vaccine manufacturer.
Truth : No One Is Getting Expired Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp.
No one is getting expired doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Had Not Expired
If you read the message carefully, the writer said that the Pfizer vaccine vial has an expiry date of 2/22. That means that vial will only “expire” at the end of February 2022.
The writer received his/her booster dose in November 2021. Therefore, the vaccine had NOT expired when it was administered.
In fact, the vaccine dose the writer received is at least 6 months away from its expiry date (see Fact #2).
Fact #2 : Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Shelf Life Extended 3 Months
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 #3 : Expiry Date Refers To Recommended Shelf Life
On 16 November 2021, Malaysia officially announced the shelf life extension of both Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines. So this is not only official, it also extends to the Sinovac vaccine.
This is based on ongoing stability data, and also the updated FDA and manufacturers’ shelf life recommendations.
So please do NOT be alarmed if the dates on your vaccination card / certificate do NOT match what was printed on the vials.
|Sinovac CoronaVac||MAL21046125ACSZ||Pharmaniaga Lifescience S/B
(+ 6 Months)
|MAL21016022AZ||Pfizer Belgium NV, Belgium||9 Months
(+ 3 Months)
|MAL21036039ASZ||BioNTech GmbH, Germany|
Fact #4 : Expiry Date Refers To Recommended Shelf Life
The expiry date that was written in the COVID-19 vaccination card / certificate refers to the vaccine’s “recommended shelf life” of that specific vaccine batch.
Since the Pfizer vaccine’s recommended shelf life had been officially extended by 3 months, it is CORRECT for the doctor to use the new “expiry date” of May 2022, instead of what’s printed on the vial – February 2022.
Fact #5 : Expiry Date Is By Vaccine Batch
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.
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 this misleading 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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