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Thousands of Expired Vaccines in Malang Awaiting Booster Confirmation

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Thousands of doses of the recently expired AstraZeneca vaccine are planned to be used for booster vaccinations in Malang, East Java.

Head of the Malang City Health Office Dr. Husnul Muarif said that, based on the existing label, the period of using the AstraZeneca vaccine ended on 28th February 2022.

“From the Malang City Health Ministry and the East Java Provincial Health Office on the recommendation from ITAGI (Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation), there is an extension,” said Muarif when contacted by Kompas on Tuesday 1st March 2022.

An official letter to extend the use of the vaccine is still in progress. Muarif confirmed that he did not know how long the extension to the shelf life would be. For the time being, the thousands of vaccines that have expired are currently not being used for vaccination.

There are around 3,000 to 5,000 doses in total; all of them are still stored in the vaccine cabinet at the Malang City Health Office,” he said.

The plan, continued Muarif, is that if the recommendation for extending the use is confirmed, his team will use the stocks to inject people who have not received doses one and two or booster vaccines. The vaccine’s expiry will not be an issue as long as the existing ingredients are not damaged and when examined are still fit for use.

Meanwhile, for other types of vaccines, Muarif explained that no others had expired. Existing vaccines are still stored before the expiration date.

The booster vaccination activity itself started on Tuesday.  Each health facility has been organised according to schedule, such as in 16 health centres or puskesmas and 20 clinics, hospitals, and other health facilities.

“For the dose that is dispensed, it depends on each regional health centre, it’s just a matter of how much the health facility will schedule in a day,” he said.

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