Health ministry administering Pfizer vaccines with extended shelf life |10 March 2023
As of yesterday, adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over could once again get their Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines from regional government health centres.
This follows a press communiqué issued by the Ministry of Health earlier this week, detailing the health facilities, days and time that the vaccines will be administered at the different centres.
As per the communiqué, the ministry will be administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has been deemed as “valid for use through to June 30, 2023”, in line with a notice issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that “shelf-life of all batches of the adult/adolescent formulation of Pfizer vaccines can be extended to 18 months from date of manufacture”.
According to the FDA’s website, the organisation has over the past year authorised numerous extensions to the shelf-life of Covid-19 vaccines, including those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
The website states that Covid-19 vaccines authorised for emergency use are still being studied under investigational new drug applications, and that such vaccines “do not have fixed expiry dates”. Furthermore, it states that the FDA is extending the date of expiration of the vaccines and that they may remain in use until beyond the printed expiry date, provided that they have been stored appropriately, under the right conditions. The updated expiry dates are stipulated by the FDA for each type of vaccine.
According to the Ministry of Health, it has maintained the adult/adolescent formulation Pfizer doses “in ideal storage conditions in expectation of such an extension”.
Similar research is underway globally to ascertain stability of the paediatric formulation of the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in children aged between 5 to 11 years, beyond its labelled shelf life.
Vaccines are to be administered on Monday between 8am and 3pm at the Anse Aux Pins health centre, and on Tuesdays at the Anse Royale and Beau Vallon facilities. While the Anse Royale centre will be administering vaccines between 8am to 3pm, the Beau Vallon facility will be offering it up until 2pm.
Jabs can also be taken from three health facilities on Wednesdays between the hours of 8am and 3pm, namely at English River, Les Mamelles, and Baie St Anne Praslin. Persons on La Digue will be able to access the service on the same day, between the hours of 1pm and 3pm.
The Anse Boileau centre will be administering vaccines on Fridays only, between 8am and 3pm.
Only the English River facility will be open for such on Saturdays, up until 12 noon.
Vaccines for children aged 5-11 years will also be on offer at the same centres, up until April 28, 2023.
In line with key recommendations for vaccination by age groups, children are to be administered the first and second doses of the paediatric formulation, three to 12 weeks apart.
As for adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years, the adult/adolescent formulation is to be administered with the first and second doses taken three to 12 weeks apart. A third dose is recommended, at least four months after the second.
Similarly, it is recommended that adults take the first and second doses three to 12 weeks apart and the third dose at least four months after the second. A fourth dose is recommended, to be taken at least four months after the third.
For adults with underlying medical conditions, an additional fifth dose is recommended at least six months after the fourth dose.
Compiled by Laura Pillay