Moderna: outdated vaccine doses can be safely injected

Moderna: Older doses of vaccine are safe to inject


Don't be surprised if you receive a dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine that is a few weeks past its expiry date. There is no error and it is safe, even if it may seem surprising.

A patient from the Montérégie had quite a surprise on July 4 when he found out about the date of the vaccine he was receiving at a pharmacy in Saint-Lazare, Montérégie.

Without telling him the exact date, the nurse told him that the month of May was written on the bottle.

“I froze. I asked myself: am I leaving? ”, says the man, who finally accepted the dose.

What he didn't know was that Health Canada changed the shelf life of the vaccine last January. The maximum shelf life has been increased from seven to nine months.

Until August

This new rule also applies to batches that were already products, provided that the product is stored at a temperature between -25 °C and -15 °C.

“The last vials subject to this retroactive shelf life extension will be those with a printed expiration date of August 2022,” reads a note sent to healthcare professionals by the company. Moderna.

For pharmacist Sandra Bordus, it is not uncommon for batches of medicines or vaccines to be extended by the manufacturer. 

” I don't I have no fear at all that it will be less effective,” she says, pointing out that when the date is changed, it is because the product has been checked.

“It would be inaccurate to refer to these batches as 'expired' as they were administered within the approved shelf life,” said Patricia Gauthier, CEO of Moderna Canada, noting that “these batches of Moderna have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada.”

No pain

For the patient who received his dose last July, he did not however, there were no side effects. 

“I didn't even have pain at the injection site, like during the first doses,” he says, while lamenting that it had not been informed sooner that expired vaccines could be administered without danger.

As of July 11, nearly 1.3 million Quebecers had received their fourth dose of vaccine, or 16 % of the total population. 

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