Government extended Corona Virus Vaccine by three months, leaving Doctors confused. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Government extended Corona Virus Vaccine by three months, leaving Doctors confused.

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A third vaccination is being promoted.

“I received my third additional dose of vaccine and had more adverse reactions than I had expected. I was shaking so badly and had a fever of over 40 degrees Celsius that I became dazed during the process. Fortunately, my family kept calling out to me and gave me several antipyretics, which brought my fever down, but it was two days after the vaccination that my fever returned to normal.

I was sick all the time for the next two weeks, and the adverse reactions were so painful that I thought ‘something is wrong,’ so I checked on the Internet and found that the expiration date of the vaccine had been changed from the original six months, it was extended to nine months.”

Ms. A, who is in her 50s and lives in Tokyo, confided that she suffered from adverse reactions after receiving her third dose of vaccine in February.

Her fears were right on target: “The Pfizer vaccine I received had an extended expiration date,” she said. “The expiration date at the time of production was February 16, 2022. I was vaccinated on February 19. Some may say that it is within the margin of error since it was only three days over, but considering the intensity of that adverse reaction, it occurred to me that it might have something to do with the extended expiration date.”

In response to Ms. A’s confession, we looked into the expiration date of the vaccine and found that indeed, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued a notice in February of this year extending the vaccine’s expiration date from six to nine months. Many prefectural websites have issued similar notices.

MHLW’s notice of the extension of the expiration date

Some medical institutions are reportedly replacing stickers with extended expiration dates or stamping them with an extended expiration date, but is there really no safety issue? Dr. Jun Karibe, president of the Preventive Medicine Research Association and director of the Kojimachi Skin and Plastic Surgery Clinic, voices his opinion.

“There is a possibility that there is a causal relationship between the severity of Mr. A’s adverse reactions and the expiration date. This is because the expiration date of vaccines is completely unknown because they have not undergone the usual pharmaceutical approval process. Normal drugs are thoroughly tested over a long period of time to ensure that there is no deterioration or abnormality in quality. However, the vaccine for the new coronavirus skipped that process and was suddenly available worldwide.”

Social networking sites are littered with posts expressing anxiety and disbelief about the extended expiration date of the new corona vaccine. It is natural that many people feel uneasy. Normally, the expiration dates of medicines are strictly observed and are never administered to patients.

“But the vaccine is administered directly into the body, and even though its safety has not yet been fully confirmed, I think it is extremely problematic that the expiration date is being extended under the leadership of the government without any public awareness. We are also pushing for the vaccination of children, but we have not confirmed its safety, investigated adverse events, or taken any countermeasures. I hope that those who are considering vaccination will make their choice after carefully considering the situation,” said Dr. Karibe.

Large-scale vaccination sites

With the third dose of vaccine coverage at 40% (as of March 30), this may be an attempt to consume expired vaccines. The author checked the vaccine expiration dates on the vaccination certificates of those who had completed the third additional vaccination, and found that many of them had been extended by three months. Recently, the expiration date has disappeared from the vaccination stickers, he said. This is not surprising that this would cause distrust.


The government decided to extend the expiration date last year, but there is no indication that the issue was fully discussed or that the public was thoroughly informed. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) claims that the vaccine has been approved by the pharmaceutical affairs bodies and that there are no safety or quality problems, but it is likely that more than a few people would have chosen to “forgo” the vaccination if they had known about the expiration date issue beforehand.


  • Interview and text Eri Yoshizawa

    Pharmacist / Medical Journalist

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