The Department of Health (DOH) said that the shelf life of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech can be extended from six months to nine months.
“Itong extension ng shelf life ng Pfizer (This extension of Pfizer), it happened months before. This was applied for by the manufacturer and submitted to the Department of Health and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that they found—based on their continuing studies of their vaccines—that we can extend the shelf life up to another three months from the time that it is set to expire,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday, Dec. 3.
Vergeire said they were able to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses that have near expiry due to this extended shelf life.
“So we were able to use up some of the Pfizer doses na meron tayo na set to expire, na-extend ng three months,” she said.
The DOH spokesperson said they are also waiting for other vaccine manufacturers if they will also apply for an extension of the shelf life of their respective vaccines.
“That is what we are expecting also, we’re looking if the other vaccine manufacturers also can follow this suit and apply with FDA, as well, based from their studies if their shelf life for the specific vaccines can also be extended,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said they are still keeping the more than 14,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses in Negros Occidental that have near expiry date.
“We have coordinated with the manufacturer — kinakausap kung magkakaroon din sila ng pag-a-apply ng extension of shelf life for these vaccines para magamit pa rin po even after this expiry date,” said Vergeire.
Vergeire said that some local officials “did not want to accept near expiry because they said these might be ineffective,” while some preferred other vaccine brands.
She reminded local government units that “let us try to consider that these vaccines are very valuable and critical commodities at this time of the pandemic.”
“Pag binigyan namin kayo, hindi ho kami magbibigay ng bakuna na expired na. Ang binigay sa inyo (If we provide you that, we will not give you an expired vaccine. What was given to you is) near expiring, which still can be used,” she said.
“Pangalawa, yun pong mga supplies natin ng bakuna ngayon, kung ano ang ma-deliver sa inyong lugar sana po tanggapin po natin. Pare-pareho po ang epekto ng mga bakunang meron tayo ngayon (Secondly, please accept those vaccines that were delivered to your area. All vaccines that we have now exhibit the same effect),” she added.