Vietnamese province seeks to return COVID-19 vaccine batch with extended shelf life

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Vietnamese province seeks to return COVID-19 vaccine batch with extended shelf life

A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a woman in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. Photo: Quoc Nam / Tuoi Tre

The Department of Health of Quang Tri Province in north-central Vietnam has sought the health ministry’s approval to return a batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with extended shelf life, following a survey showing that 94 percent of local people in the 12-17 age group refused to get injected with the vaccine batch in question.

The provincial authorities said they will not use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine lot numbered 124001, which had had its shelf life extended from the original expiration date of November 30, 2021 to February 28, 2022.

The province had been allocated 35,100 doses of the batch on December 1.

The provincial health department on Sunday proposed the health ministry withdraw the batch and have another plan for it to avoid waste.

Some 31,500, or 94 percent, of 33,800 children aged between 12 and 17 eligible for vaccination in Quang Tri disagreed to get shots of the vaccine from the batch, according to a survey conducted by the provincial Department of Education and Training on December 8.

On December 9, a 12th grader in Quang Tri Province’s Trieu Phong District died seven days after receiving emergency treatment for her post-coronavirus vaccination complication.

The province also reported several cases of severe post-vaccination reactions.

Quang Tri Province is the first locality to return the batch of Pfizer-BioNTech doses with the extended expiry date.

On December 1, Hanoi suspended the use of Pfizer-BioNTech lots with the extended expiry date, while Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Son La Provinces are continuing to use the vaccine batches.

The health ministry’s Drug Administration of Vietnam previously announced that vials of lots 124001 and 123002 could be used for three months beyond their November 30, 2021 expiration date as long as they were stored at temperatures between -90 and -60 degrees Celsius.

The conditional extension is guaranteed by Pfizer Vietnam and based on a conclusion from an advisory board, the drug regulator noted.

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