More than 3,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine have expired on Prince Edward Island.
The doses expired on July 1. Though the initial expiration date was set for the end of May, Health Canada extended the shelf life by a month.
The province originally set aside AstraZeneca doses for front-line service workers aged 18 to 29. In an email to CBC News, the Chief Public Health Office said it prioritized this group because they had the highest rate of infection "and outbreaks involving people in this age group had resulted in a surge in testing and the tightening of provincial public health measures."
P.E.I. suspended its AstraZeneca rollout after the vaccine was linked to rare blood clots, especially in younger people. The province said since the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines were also being offered for first doses, the demand for AstraZeneca dropped significantly.
More than 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have come to P.E.I. since Christmas. While most of those have been given to people, the province said one-third of its AstraZeneca supply expired before it could be used.
Other provinces also saw some of their AstraZeneca supply expire. In Alberta, around 4,000 doses were set to expire this month.
On Monday, Canada announced plans to donate its surplus AstraZeneca vaccines. Nearly 18 million doses are expected to go to low- and middle-income countries.
The P.E.I. Pharmacists Association told CBC News last week that AstraZeneca is still available at some pharmacies on the Island, and those doses are not scheduled to expire until fall.
The CPHO said it did reach out to other provinces to see if they were interested in receiving P.E.I.'s excess supply of AstraZeneca, but there was little interest.
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