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Global shortage of ‘special’ syringes could impact Australia’s vaccine roll-out

Article image for Global shortage of ‘special’ syringes could impact Australia’s vaccine roll-out

As the state government prepares for the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine to those who are most at risk on Monday, it’s been revealed that a global supply shortage of a ‘special’ syringe could leave us with less doses than anticipated.

Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist Professor Peter Collignon says the Pfizer vaccine was originally thought to hold five doses per vial, but they found using a more advanced syringe each vial could contain six doses.

“There is an issue about how much solution you can get out of the vial once it’s made up,” he told Tom Elliott on 3AW Drive.

“In theory you can get six doses, but unless you’ve got these special syringes that don’t have what they call ‘dead space’ – in other words there’s not much fluid left in the needle and in the top of the syringe, in effect you can only get five.”

Low dead space syringes are designed to limit dead space that exists between the syringe hub and needle, and therefore limit the waste of fluid.

“When Pfizer first manufactured their vials they weren’t designed for five doses, but then they worked out with these special syringes you can give six,” he said.

“The only problem is that Pfizer didn’t supply those special syringes.”

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