Ontario pharmacists who expected to spend the weekend racing to administer 45,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine set to expire have been given a reprieve from Health Canada.
The federal department has extended the expiry date from May 31 to July 1, according to a spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.
The decision was made "following the review of submitted stability data," Elliott's spokesperson said via email on Saturday.
The doses, which sat in storage for a few weeks while Ontario re-evaluated the safety of the vaccine, were held up by quality checks and only reached pharmacies on Friday.
In a statement, Health Canada said the change "will ensure that provinces and territories are able to use up their existing inventory and provide Canadians access to much-needed doses of vaccine."
People who received their first dose between March 10 and March 19 are eligible for their second dose.