The US laboratory Pfizer, which developed together with the German BioNtech one of the first two vaccines against COVID-19 authorized in Europe, adjusted the amount of doses obtained from each bottle and, therefore, modified the agreed deliveries.
Based on a recommendation of January 8 from the European Medicines Agency, which “authorized the use of the extra volume in the vaccine vials, considering that it corresponded to a sixth dose”, it is “therefore now possible to extract six doses and no longer five in each vial, “Pfizer told AFP.
The pharmaceutical company adapted its deliveries, reducing the number of bottles distributed to each country.
We will fulfill our delivery commitments to the States in accordance with the orders that have been placed. These have always been based on a total number of doses and not vials, ”said the manufacturer.
Our initial goal of 1.3 billion doses of vaccine has been revised to reach two billion doses by the end of 2021, “he explains.
Last week, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced a three- to four-week delay in scheduled dose deliveries.
Since then, the labs have announced a plan to return to the original delivery schedule to the European Union “from the week of January 25”.
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Getting six doses, not five, per bottle can be tricky, they warned.
According to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine instructions, a syringe with a “dead space” (less than 35 microliters) is required for this to occur.
The “dead space” is the volume left in the syringe after the plunger is fully depressed. Ideally, use a syringe with a non-detachable needle.
The sixth dose requires adequate equipment to extract it systematically. Not all the centers have received this type of needles and syringes, “Clarisse Audigier Valette, head of the covid-19 unit at the Toulon Hospital Center (France), warned on Twitter.