Is the Malaysia Health Ministry giving us expired COVID-19 vaccines?
Take a look at the viral message, and find out what the FACTS really are!
Claim : Malaysia Health Ministry Is Using Expired COVID-19 Vaccines!
This message is going viral on WhatsApp, claiming that the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) is using EXPIRED COVID-19 vaccines.
A million vaccine shots tossed in Indonesia on short expiry date
Our health ministry and Minister must explain why Indonesia is discarding expired vaccine shots while our Health minister is extending the expired period to six months.
It is known that once a vaccine or any medicine is expired it loses its efficacy and should not be given. But our DG and Health Minister on their own accord without any advice from from the vaccine maker decided to extend the expiry period and give it to our people.
Is Malaysian lives so cheap that expired vaccine can be given to our people without fear that it may have adverse effects on the people.?
Truth : Malaysia Is Not Using Expired COVID-19 Vaccines!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp about COVID-19 vaccines.
Malaysia is NOT using expired COVID-19 vaccines, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : Most Expired Vaccines In Indonesia Had Short Shelf Life Left
It is true that more than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses were discarded in Indonesia after they expired. But that was because most of them were donated with just 1-3 months of shelf life left!
On 19 January 2022, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told the Indonesian Parliament that about 98% of the 1.1 million doses that were discarded were “donated just 1-3 months away from expiry“.
In other words, it was almost impossible for Indonesia to distribute and use those vaccines before they expired.
Hence, the Indonesian government will be “more selective and only accept doses expiring in three months or longer“.
Fact #2 : COVID-19 Vaccine Shelf Lives Were Too Short
When properly stored, vaccines can last a long time. Most vaccines actually have a shelf life of about three years.
However, vaccine manufacturers have been extraordinarily cautious when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. Many COVID-19 vaccines ship with shelf lives of only 3 to 6 months!
The key takeaway point is that COVID-19 vaccine shelf lives are extraordinarily short. Many healthcare professionals would call them way too short.
Fact #3 : EUA / EUL Vaccines Do NOT Have Fixed Expiry Dates
The US FDA points out that vaccines authorised for emergency use (EUA / EUL) do NOT have fixed expiry dates.
Vaccines authorized for emergency use – as products that are not approved under a biologics license application and are still being studied under investigational new drug applications– do not have fixed expiry dates.
For those doses that are close to expiry, if they are being held under appropriate conditions for ensuring their integrity for use, they can potentially be quarantined to see if data on new stability studies warrant extension of the initial expiry date according to appropriate policies and procedures.
Fact #4 : Vaccine Shelf Life Extension Is Based On Stability Studies
Vaccine manufacturers can conduct stability studies, to prove that their COVID-19 vaccines remain stable and effective over time.
They can then apply to extend the shelf life of COVID-19 vaccines, which is subject to approval by drug regulatory agencies like the US FDA and the UK MHRA
The shelf life of COVID-19 vaccines will only be extended if stability tests prove that they maintain their potency.
Fact #5 : Vaccine Shelf Life Extension Requested By Manufacturers
The fake news claimed that the Malaysia Health Ministry extended vaccine shelf life on their own accord. That’s complete and utter nonsense.
The vaccine manufacturer must apply for a shelf life extension, and provide their stability study results to prove that their COVID-19 vaccine remain stable and potent beyond the requested shelf life extension.
Fact #6 : Many COVID-19 Vaccines Have Extended Shelf Lives
Many COVID-19 vaccines shipped with very short shelf lives, and have since had them extended, some multiple times.
- Pfizer-BioNTech COMIRNATY : Extended to 9 months since 22 August 2021
- Moderna Spikevax : Extended to 9 months since 23 December 2021
- J&J Janssen : Extended to 4.5 months on 10 June 2021, and then 6 months on 28 July 2021
- Sinovac : Extended to 12 months
- SII Covishield : Extended to 9 months in March 2021
- Bharat Covaxin : Extended to 12 months on 3 November 2021
- Sputnik V : Extended to 6 months
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 fake news!
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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.
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