May 28, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Education Corner -
Expired/Expiring COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance
Monitoring expiration dates and management of expired vaccines is an important aspect of the COVID-19 vaccination program. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) provided the following details for expiration date reminders as well as guidance on how to manage expired COVID-19 vaccine, including required wastage reporting and disposal.


Always check the expiration date prior to preparing or administering a vaccine. An expired vaccine or diluent should NEVER be used. Information on COVID-19 expiration dates differs depending on the product:
  1. Pfizer: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has an expiration date located on the vaccine vial (unlike some other COVID-19 vaccines). The expiration date is also uploaded to the MCIR Outbreak Inventory.
  2. Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): ​The expiration date is NOT printed on the vaccine vial or carton. To determine the expiration date:

For Moderna: Scan the QR code located on the outer carton, or check the Moderna

For Janssen: Scan the QR code located on the outer carton, or check the Janssen
Expiration Lookup website, or call 1-800-565-4008.

For both Moderna and Janssen, in the MCIR Outbreak Inventory, a "placeholder" expiration date of 12/31/2069 is uploaded (as provided by CDC). This placeholder date is intended to serve as a prompt for the provider to check the latest expiry information on the manufacturer's website. Upon receiving shipments, check the lot numbers to obtain the expiration date. Update the MCIR Outbreak Inventory to replace the “placeholder” expiration date with the actual expiration date. To do so, remove the uploaded lot and re-enter the correct information by using “data entry correction” transactions.

Always check the expiration date prior to preparing the vaccine. As the expiration date draws near, be sure to check the manufacturer's expiration look up again for the most up-to-date information because as additional stability data become available, expiration dates for some products may change.


Monitor expiration dates weekly, rotate stock as needed, and always place the soonest-to-expire vaccine upfront in your storage unit. Utilize a “first-in, first-out” approach for vaccine management. CDC also has an Expiration Date Tracking Tool for COVID-19 vaccines. In your MCIR Outbreak Inventory, soon-to-expire vaccines will be color-coded for easy identification as follows:
  • Red = Expired
  • Purple = Expires within 0 to 3 months
  • Green = Expires within 3 to 6 months

If a vaccine is nearing expiration and your site may not use all doses prior to expiration, please exhaust efforts to reduce wastage: utilize patient recall efforts, expand outreach and vaccination appointments, and coordinate with the Local Health Department to discuss if redistribution is feasible.


A new COVID-19 Vaccine Lot Number report is available from CDC. This report includes COVID-19 vaccine lot numbers and expiration dates provided to CDC by the vaccine manufacturers. This report will be updated daily and can be used to support vaccine administration, inventory management, and IISs. To request access to this report, visit CDC’s Vaccine Lot Number and Expiration Date webpage and complete the registration form.

EXPIRED COVID-19 VACCINE (Reporting & Disposal)

If a vaccine expires, remove it from your storage unit immediately to prevent staff from inadvertently using it. As indicated in the COVID-19 Provider Agreement, providers must report wastage. To do so, transactions must be performed in your MCIR Outbreak Inventory to indicate the number of expired doses that need to be deducted and reported as waste. For step-by-step guidance on this inventory reporting of wastage, follow our tip sheet on How to Record Non-Viable COVID-19 Doses in MCIR.

Do not attempt to return the vaccine to the distributor. Instead, dispose of expired vaccine properly:
  • Disposal must be done in accordance with local regulations with appropriate steps taken to ensure proper disposal. Therefore, dispose of expired vaccine vials (with remaining liquid) by placing them into the Sharps container and treated as medical/biohazard waste.
  • Do not draw up the remaining liquid and dispose of it down the sink drain.
  • Vaccine disposal information was also shared in a previous MPA COVID-19 update.

CDC has also advised the following: Report expired vaccine promptly. Keep in mind that there are no negative consequences for reporting waste. CDC recognizes that unused expired vaccine is a normal part of any vaccination program, especially one of this scope and size.


What if an expired vaccine dose is inadvertently administered to a patient?
It is considered a vaccine administration error. Contact the patient to inform them of the error and follow the CDC Clinical Considerations guidance under Appendix A for contacting the manufacturer first. CDC may also be contacted, if needed, for revaccination guidance. A report should also be made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Monitoring expiration dates will help prevent having an expired vaccine. Establishing a practice of “Triple Checking” will help prevent the error of administering an expired vaccine dose. Check the expiration three times before administering the dose. Once when you take the vaccine out of the storage unit, once while you prepare the vaccine, and then again before you go to administer. Three times to prevent the error of giving an expired dose.


If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination, you may always reach out to us at

Thank you for all your hard work to protect Michiganders from vaccine-preventable diseases!