Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

Following approval by Medsafe, the storage conditions have changed for all batches of Comirnaty (COVID-19 mRNA vaccine) available in New Zealand.

The extended expiry means that all unopen undiluted vials can be stored for up to 1 month (31 days) at 2° to 8°C (Refrigerate, do not freeze). Further information can be found in the New Zealand data sheet.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre is aware that there is stock in DHB and community clinic supply, that has a five day expiry timeframe listed on them. Relabelled stock with updated expiry details is expected to start arriving from Wednesday 2nd of June.

In the interim IMAC advise providers:

  • The current vaccine stock sitting in DHB pharmacies can be relabelled to reflect the updated Medsafe information, if this is possible before sending out to DHB and community clinics please do this.
  • The current vaccine stock at COVID-19 Community Vaccinator Centre’s, can be used with the extended expiry date, this needs to be a clinical decision made by the clinic lead.
  • To extend the expiry date add 25 days to the current date associated with the vaccine sub batch number.
  • If clinic leads are not comfortable using vaccine stock that hasn’t been relabelled, please quarantine your “expiring” stock in 2° to 8°C system and discuss with your DHB pharmacy regarding getting the stock relabelled with new expiry date.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre welcomes the news from MedSafe that the Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNtech) COVID-19 vaccine in use in New Zealand now has a longer shelf life.

An extension from five days to 31 days before the vaccine expires enables greater flexibility in the management of the vaccine, making options for vaccination outreach and use in smaller clinics easier. This is good from both equitable and logistics perspectives, making it a win for the COVID-19 vaccination workforce and most importantly people who want to receive the vaccine, wherever they may be in New Zealand.