HCMC – The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has announced that the shelf life of seven more batches of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has been extended from six to nine months.
In a document sent to the centers for disease control (CDC) of cities and provinces nationwide on December 13, the institute asked the CDCs to inform Covid vaccination sites about the expiration extension, the local media reported.
The expiration date of the 124001, 123002, 126001 and 123001 batches was extended from November 30, 2021 to February 28, 2022. In addition, the 128002, 129001, PCA0006 and PCA0017 batches can remain in use until March 31, 2022, instead of December 31, 2021.
The PCA0021 batch also had its expiration date extended from January 31, 2022 to April 30, 2022.
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology also asked medical workers to explain the expiration extension to residents to prevent any misunderstanding. The local CDCs must arrange the administering of the allocated doses at the earliest to prevent the vaccines from being discarded.
Earlier, two batches of over 2.9 million Pfizer doses also had their shelf life extended by three months.
The expiration extension is effective for all the currently available batches that were produced from August this year. In addition, the extension is applicable to only vaccine batches stored at minus 90 degrees Celsius to minus 60 degrees Celsius.
A representative of Pfizer Vietnam said based on a request by Pfizer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on August 22 approved the extension of the Pfizer vaccine shelf life from six to nine months. The European Medicines Agency made the same decision on September 10.
The expiration extension will cause no changes to the vaccine, so its efficacy and safety will be maintained, the Pfizer Vietnam representative added.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said Vietnam extended the shelf life of the vaccine batches based on international practices. The vaccines sent to Vietnam have been reviewed in line with the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure their quality.
WHO representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said WHO in August approved the extension of the expiration dates of all Pfizer batches produced from August. While being transported to Vietnam, the vaccine was stored at minus 90 degrees Celsius to minus 60 degrees Celsius.
All vaccine batches have been assessed by the National Institute for Control of Vaccine and Biologicals before being put into use, so the expiration extension of Pfizer by three months will not affect the quality of the vaccine.