KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is constantly monitoring the supply and expiry date of COVID-19 vaccines received by vaccine storage centres (PSV) and vaccination centres (PPV).
MOH’s senior director of pharmaceutical services Norhaliza A. Halim said the monitoring was done by using the Vaccine Management System (VMS) as well as the existing inventory system available at the facilities involved with the implementation of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
“Based on checks, no expired vaccine stocks have been supplied to PSV or PPV,” she said in response to viral social media posts claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine given had passed its expiry date.
Norhaliza explained that the shelf life of pharmaceutical products including COVID-19 vaccines was determined based on the real-time stability test conducted by the manufacturers for a specific storage temperature.
She said a vaccine’s shelf life would differ if there was a change in its storage temperature.
A new vaccine expiry date would be given based on the shelf life extension application submitted by the manufacturer to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) for evaluation, she added.
“The shelf life extension of the vaccine product will only be approved after the evaluation results confirm that it meets the regulatory requirements. This also applies to all other registered pharmaceutical products,” she said.
Norhaliza said the NPRA had approved the shelf life extension for the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine from six to nine months, CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine manufactured in China (from nine to 12 months) and the CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine manufactured by Pharmaniaga Lifescience, Malaysia (from six to 12 months).
She said the NPRA also approved the shelf life extension for the Convidecia vaccine from six to 12 months on Dec 17 last year.
“The ministry is committed to ensuring that all pharmaceutical products, including the COVID-19 vaccines, have been evaluated in terms of quality, safety and effectiveness by the NPRA and approved by the Drug Control Authority.
“The assessment of benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted conditional registration approval is carried out on an ongoing basis based on the latest data from time to time,” she said.