Waterloo Region moving Moderna doses to mass vaccination clinics before they expire

Waterloo Region is making sure its Moderna vaccines don’t go to waste.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association has raised concerns that potentially tens of thousands of doses might expire in the next few weeks.

In Waterloo Region efforts are underway to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As demand for vaccine doses goes down, many retail pharmacies aren’t able to use their Moderna supply.

But that isn’t the case at the Pinebush Vaccination Clinic in Cambridge.

“We are having more people walk in the door,” says Daniel Pereira, the lead pharmacist at the clinic. “Therefore we’re able to find more people that we can use these doses with.”

Last week about 2,000 shots that were set to expire were transferred from community pharmacies to mass vaccination sites. About 80% of those doses were used.

More vaccines have also been moved to Pinebush and other mass vaccination sites.

“This week we’ve already received 600 doses that will expire by the end of the work week,” says Pereira.

Transporting the vaccines is a careful process.

“We have to have coolers pre-conditioned to a temperature range from two to eight degrees before we put the vaccine in there,” says Pereira. “The vaccine has to be tightly packed. It cannot be moving around during transport as mRNA is a little bit more fragile, and it has to be monitored from start to finish as it makes its way to our clinic.”

He says more people received Moderna as their first shot when Waterloo Region was seeing a surge in cases due to the Delta variant, and they are now looking for the same for their second dose.

With both Moderna and Pfizer in stock, the Pinebush clinic can now give people the second dose that matches their first.

Pereira urges everyone who still needs the vaccine to get it as soon as possible.

“Don’t wait. There’s no better time than the present to get your dose.”

The Pinebush clinic, and all of Waterloo Region’s vaccine clinics, are now accepting booked as well as walk-in appointments.