The FDA announces that vials of Pfizer’s vaccine contain additional doses that could be given to 6.86 million Americans by Christmas
- Pharmacists in the US have discovered that vials of Pfizer’s coronavirus shot contain up to 40% more vaccine than expected
- Many vials have enough of the rare vaccine to give six or seven doses instead of the intended five
- Overcrowding is a common practice in vaccine manufacturing and is likely not a Pfizer fault
- FDA officials indicated that given the emergency, the extra doses can be used
- If all of the vials are expected to ship this week and next, there could be enough replacement vaccine for 1.96 million doses, for a total of 8.68 vaccinations by Christmas
According to Politico, Pfizer has overfilled the vials of its coronavirus vaccine by up to 40 percent, meaning more people can be vaccinated if doctors use every drop in the tiny glass bottles.
That means Pfizer is delivering enough vaccine to give 4.06 million Americans their first dose instead of the intended 2.9 million doses.
And the FDA says the leftover vaccine can be used, a spokesman told Politico.
“Given the public health emergency, the FDA advises that it is acceptable to use every full dose available,” the spokesman said.
It is most likely not a mistake on the part of the drug manufacturer; Vaccine bottles are often overfilled by manufacturers to accommodate spills or other user errors.
Unfortunately, some pharmacists have already thrown away the particularly valuable drops of vaccine.
For those who haven’t thrown away the sediment, pharmacists have found between one and two extra doses of vaccine in the vials.
FDA officials said states they can use extra doses in vials of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Overcrowding is a common practice in vaccine production
One vial of Pfizer’s vaccine contains five doses.
But anyone can actually have enough serum to vaccinate six or even seven people with their first dose.
That could be a huge boon to vaccine adoption.
Pfizer has lowered its global end-of-year care target from 100 million to 50 million.
2.9 million cans will be shipped this week and another two million – significantly fewer than the first wave – next week, Operation Warp Speed officials said Wednesday.
But neither Pfizer nor the US government has given precise details on how many of their 50 million global doses will go to Americans by the end of the month.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday the company had encountered manufacturing issues.
The federal government is working with Pfizer to find solutions to these problems. However, it is unclear what impact the introduction of the vaccine could have.
The Trump administration also missed a chance to buy more cans of the shot offered by Pfizer this summer.
Operation Warp Speed is now trying to negotiate the purchase of 100 million more doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.
Meanwhile, Pfizer’s short-term manufacturing is key to meeting the U.S. government’s goal of vaccinating 20 million Americans before year end.
Pfizer and Moderna both shot two cans.
It will take all of the 20 million doses that Moderna promised this month – assuming the vaccine gets FDA approval this week – and another 20 million from Pfizer.
According to Politico, the FDA informed Pfizer of the reports of the additional doses and sent guidelines to states on Wednesday telling them it was okay to use the additional vaccine.
But some states, like Utah, require pharmacists to use only the originally prescribed five doses from each vial.
Federal regulators have not yet publicly announced the updated guidelines on using additional vaccines.
If the vials slated to ship next week have as much extra vaccine as this week, there could be enough Pfizer’s shot to give 6.86 million Americans their first dose of the Pfizer’s shot by Christmas, instead of just 4, 9 million.