Warp Speed giving some hospitals faulty syringes for COVID-19 vaccine doses

Some hospitals have had to throw out doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine because the syringes given to them by Operation Warp Speed are only able to extract five doses from vials, even if they contain more, Politico reported. 

Early in the vaccine rollout, pharmacists discovered that some vials of Pfizer's vaccines that are supposed to hold just five doses actually contain six or seven. But some syringes distributed to hospitals by Operation Warp Speed, the government's initiative to speed COVID-19 drug and vaccine development, aren't able to extract the extra doses, hospital lobbyists told Politico. Warp Speed sends needles and syringes with its weekly shipments of vaccines to states. 

An HHS spokesperson acknowledged to Politico that the department is aware of the syringe problem. 

"Operation Warp Speed is quickly evaluating options to reconfigure the accompanying ancillary supply kits to accommodate the potential additional doses," the spokesperson said. 

The number of vaccine doses providers are able to get from a single vial also depends on the technique used to extract the doses, Politico reported. 

Some providers have told state officials that the syringes don't allow them to extract all of the doses, and hospitals have raised the issue to the American Hospital Association, Politico reported. Nancy Foster, the AHA’s vice president of quality and patient safety policy, told Politico the syringes are raising questions about states' ability to deliver second doses to everyone who’s received a first shot.

"With the second dose of Pfizer that is now going into people’s arms, we’ve been given different syringes, less efficient, so you need to draw up a little bit of extra vaccine, to get the right amount of dose into the person’s arm. We don’t have that sixth dose now," Ms. Foster said. 

But Mitchel Rothholz, chief of governance & state affiliates for the American Pharmacists Association, told Politico that having enough second doses shouldn't be an issue because the number of second doses sent to vaccination sites are based on the number of initial vaccines at each site. 

Read the full article here.

More articles on pharmacy:
What more pharmacy deserts amid the pandemic means for public health
Pfizer vaccine effective against UK, South Africa COVID-19 strains, study suggests
New York to launch COVID-19 vaccination phase 1b


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