COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Newsletter 06.16.2021

The U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an extension of the shelf life for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from 3 months to 4.5 months (an additional 6 weeks).

  • The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46° Fahrenheit (2 – 8° Celsius).
  • Vaccine providers should visit to confirm the latest expiration dates of vaccine, including those currently available for administration throughout the United States. This extension applies to refrigerated vials of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.
  • COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized under an EUA do not have fixed expiration dates, and their expiration dates can be extended as more stability data become available. Always be sure to check the manufacturer’s website to obtain the most up-to-date expiration dates for COVID-19 vaccines you have on hand.

Before vaccinating a patient, check VIIS to verify they have not already received their COVID-19 vaccine elsewhere. Additionally, inform your patients that they can now request a copy of their vaccine record from VDH here.

As a reminder, providers should report expired doses and those at risk of expiring regularly in surveys found on the Resources for Vaccine Clinics webpage.

  • Please note that no federal shipments will be delivered on Friday, June 18, 2021 in observation of Juneteenth. We ask that providers plan accordingly. The Small Shipment Redistribution Program (SSRP) requests will not be impacted. 
  • We have several new updates in VaxMaX which will improve the ability of providers to interact with the system and make requests.
  • As a reminder, please ensure that you are ‘clearing your cache’ on your internet browser so that you are using the most up-to-date instance of VaxMaX. We recommend logging out of/into VaxMaX each day so these critical updates will be reflected. Instructions on how to do this are located on the VaxMaX help website.
  • We have updated VaxMaX to enable provider requests for the SSRP. To participate in the program, providers should submit requests through the traditional VaxMaX Provider Portal and flag a checkbox for SSRP (an overview of the program can be found here). Note: This is not meant to replace normal ordering procedures; if a provider is able to handle standard shipping quantities, providers should do so.
  • Additionally, providers have the ability to specify Pfizer-BioNTech 450 Adult vs. Adolescent kit requests through VaxMaX. Both need to be requested in multiples of 450.
  • For questions about VaxMaX and its functionality, please visit the VaxMaX help website as a resource for reference guides and tutorial videos.

Best Practice Spotlight

Adhere to the recommendations below to manage expired vaccine properly:
  1. Regularly check dates on stored vials. Follow a “first-in/first-out” practice for vaccine administration and store your vaccine inventory to ensure the older vials are used first.
  2. If nearing expiration, check posted manufacturer information, use the CDC’s Vaccine Lot Number and Expiration Date webpage, or request access to a new COVID-19 Vaccine Lot Number report via CDC’s Vaccine Code Set Management Service (VCSMS). This report is updated daily and includes COVID-19 vaccine lot numbers and expiration dates provided to CDC by the vaccine manufacturers.
  3. To minimize waste and ensure the opportunity to redeploy vaccine at risk of expiring to an area in need of additional supply, providers should complete this VDH survey.
  4. Please promptly report any expired vaccine using the Vaccine Wastage Reporting Tool. There are no negative consequences for reporting waste, and it will not negatively impact future allocations.
  5. If you have expired vaccine, do not return vials with the shipper. Dispose of the vials in accordance with jurisdictional laws regarding medical waste.
  6. You are encouraged to return the McKesson/Moderna frozen shippers to help reduce waste by allowing them to be reused. Labels to return the shippers are located inside the flap of the shipper box. Please return your shipper according to the directions on the flap. If you have questions or need additional information, please email
  7. For additional information, see the following resources:
    1. CDC| Identification, Disposal, and Reporting of COVID-19 Vaccine Wastage
    2. VDH | Guidance on Additional, Extra, Expiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Providers Participating in the Commonwealth of Virginia COVID-19 Vaccination Program 
Check out our complete list of updated COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Best Practices and our Lightning Learnings: Best Practices for Busy Providers!

Helpful Resources

Visit VDH’s comprehensive list of COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs.

Federal health officials are seeing rare, but higher-than-expected cases of myocarditis among adolescents and young adults who received their second shot of one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

  • CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet Friday, June 18 to discuss a possible link between heart inflammation and coronavirus vaccines that use messenger RNA technology.
  • As of June 9, 2021, VAERS has received 623 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger who received COVID-19 vaccine. Most cases have been reported after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), particularly in male adolescents and young adults. Through follow-up, including medical record reviews, CDC and FDA have confirmed 268 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports to assess whether there is a relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccination program is changing frequently. This newsletter will offer regular updates to providers who have submitted an intent to vaccinate or signed the CDC provider agreement within Virginia.

VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response: Healthcare Professionals Website