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P.E.I. forced to throw out more than 3,200 doses of expired AstraZeneca vaccine

Last Updated Jul 15, 2021 at 11:51 am PDT

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

An infectious disease specialist says the thousands of doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that have expired in Canada is a small price to pay to ensure there’s an adequate vaccine supply in the country.

Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, was responding to news that Prince Edward Island authorities had to dispose of more than 3,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that expired on July 1.

She says the waste in Canada is a tiny amount in a world that needs billions of doses, and it is better to have too much of a particular vaccine than to turn people away because supply is lacking.

Health officials in New Brunswick say they had 960 doses of AstraZeneca expire and have 10,300 doses set to expire at the end of August.

A spokesman says the province is in discussions to redistribute doses that may not be required in New Brunswick.

On Monday, the federal government announced it will donate nearly 18 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to poorer countries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press