There was a reason for the opening of additional phases, and it's not just about losing that last dose at the bottom of the vial.

The ministry also had to consider the May 2021 expiration date of the AstraZeneca doses currently in the country. Here's what doctor Beer had to say about the race to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible:

Reporter
"Talk about not losing doses, because I know you'd invite a younger person to get for example the last dose in a bottle, so its not wasted. In terms of the expiration date for the AstraZeneca vaccines that are currently in country, when will those expire?"

Dr. Natalia Beer, Ministry of Health
"Those expire end of May."

Reporter
"Do you believe those are in danger of expiration or do you think that it will work out...?"

Dr. Natalia Beer, Ministry of Health
"Today is the 3rd May, so we have until the end of May, that would put us how many days, 3 full working weeks to get vaccines in arms, so we don't foresee us going beyond the month of May with the stock that we have in."

Reporter
"For those who have already received their first dose, should they stick to the date that they were given or should they try and get their second dose quicker?"

Dr. Natalia Beer, Ministry of Health
"The evidence show - we started out with the second dose for the 8 weeks, but the evidence is now recommending we can go up to 12 weeks and even up to 4 months. But 12 weeks is the max that we are recommending to get your second dose and only healthcare workers are ask to get their second dose now, which is the 8 weeks. But of course if persons 60 years and older reach to us for a second dose at 8 weeks, we will not turn them back. We will provide them with the second dose. But the rest of the population we are asking if they can please wait for the 12 weeks."

Belize's remaining, unused AstraZeneca doses currently stand at 15,000. The Ministry of Health expects to administer all of those before their expiration date at the close of the month.

Channel 7