Government response

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shelf-life extended from 5 to 31 days, says MHRA

Change approved following detailed review of additional stability data

Vaccine vials

New storage conditions for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, that extend the length of time the thawed vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperatures from 5 days to 31 days, have today been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the UK regulator, must be stored at ultra-low temperatures until use. The changes, that extend the shelf-life once thawed, are therefore expected to make storage easier and possible for a wider range of health facilities.

The change was approved following the MHRA’s detailed review of additional stability data submitted to the regulator by Pfizer.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said:

We are pleased to confirm that, having rigorously assessed the additional data submitted to us by the company, we have now approved more flexible storage conditions for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Up until now, the Pfizer vaccine had to be administered within 5 days of being removed from ultra-low temperature freezers.

Now that the jab can be stored at normal fridge temperatures for up to 31 days, it can be used in a wider range of healthcare settings, giving patients greater access to the Pfizer vaccine.

Background

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Published 20 May 2021