May 27, 2021
By Jane Brown
Canada’s health minister is urging her provincial and territorial counterparts not to waste thousands of doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to expire in a few days.
Patty Hajdu has written a letter encouraging provinces that are not able to get their AZ doses into people’s arms by the end of the month to give them to provinces that can.
She’s also offering federal logistical support to help ensure the doses are not wasted.
The issue is set to be discussed further Thursday during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s regular pandemic conference call with premiers.
Here in Ontario, second doses of AstraZeneca are being offered to the 90,000 people between the ages of 60 and 64 who received their first doses March 10th to the 19th.
Problem is, a quality assurance process has slowed delivery of the doses to some 100 Toronto pharmacies.
Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, says there are 31,000 doses set to expire at end of day Monday, but he is confident they will get used if they arrive in time.
“As long as it’s injected before that expiration, it will be fine. It’s as effective as safe. We’ll be educating people and answering any questions, so that everybody’s informed and can make the best decision, in their best interest. There is certainly going to be other availability for second doses,” Bates explained.
Another 254,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to arrive for use in Ontario in about two weeks.