Pharmacy-led vaccination sites in England can extend the shelf life of specified batches of Moderna Covid vaccines that are nearing their expiry date, NHS England has said.

In a letter sent to pharmacy and PCN-led vaccination sites this week (1 February), NHS England said that 20 batches of the vaccine – known as Spikevax – can be used until an extended post-thaw expiry date.

The letter said: ‘We are writing to notify you that after discussions with Moderna Biotech Spain, S.L. (Moderna) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), certain post-thaw expiry dates of unpunctured and undamaged Spikevax® vials as detailed in this letter may be extended from 30 days to 60 days.’

Stocks ‘nearing expiry should be the priority’ as ‘per normal practice’, it explained.

Contractors responsible for the safe storage of the vaccines have been asked to amend the post-thaw expiry dates for the applicable batches accordingly.

‘This extended shelf life will enable more patients to access these critical and life-saving vaccines over the coming day,’ it said.

NHSE said that Moderna confirmed that extending the post-thaw expiration date on the vaccine will have ‘no impact to product quality’ when stored at 2-8°C ‘independent of the shelf life printed on the vial’.

The MHRA also said there would be ‘no detrimental impact on the safety, quality or efficacy of the specified batches of vaccine’ and that it has ‘no objection to the proposal of using these identified stocks of Spikevax® beyond their authorised expiry date’.

Last month, Pharmacy-led vaccination sites were told they could extend the shelf life of certain batches of the Pfizer Covid vaccine nearing expiry.