FDA approves updated label allowing 6 doses of Pfizer vaccine per vial

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — In the race to get vaccinated, every drop counts. But, are we getting all that we can out of each vial of Pfizer or Moderna?

“When we first started doing the vaccine in December, pretty quickly all of our pharmacists said they were telling us they were getting six doses consistently out of Pfizer vials,” Eric Arlia said.

Arlia is the Senior Director of Pharmacy at Hartford Healthcare. Shortly after the vaccine rollout began, at Pfizer’s request, the US Food and Drug Administration approved an updated label allowing a potential extra dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Doing so requires the use of low dead-volume syringes.

According to Physicians Weekly, low dead-volume syringes are designed to limit the dead space between the syringe hub and needle and prevent inaccurate dosing. With standard syringes, the dead volume refers to the volume of solution that remains in the syringe or needle.

The problem? Not all hospitals and places where the vaccine is being distributed have access to low dead-volume syringes. At Hartford Healthcare, for one, that appears to be changing.

“We actually on Friday, did some tests on this new particular brand of syringe we were seeing. And those actually were low dead-volume. So, I do believe that the federal government is making a concerted effort to make sure that the syringes they put in the kits are all low dead-volume,” Arlia said.

Pfizer says the sixth dose was purposeful. They remain confident that they can deliver 200 million doses to the U.S. Government by the end of May.

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