Pfizer to Charge For ‘Extra’ Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Doctors Squeeze Out Of Vials

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Pfizer to Charge For ‘Extra’ Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Doctors Squeeze Out Of Vials.

Pfizer is pressured regulators to declare its vials contain an “extra” dose of the vaccine and will now count them in deliveries after frontline health workers found they could dispense six shots from one vial- instead of five.

A spokeswoman for the pharma giant, Amy Rose, explained that while the company would “fulfil our supply commitments in line with our existing agreements,” she said that those deals are “based on delivery of doses” themselves, rather than vials.

When doctors found they were able to pull one last dose than intended from Pfizer’s vials, some believed it would mean the 100 million doses the company has pledged to the US by March could actually stretch much further. Pfizer soon dispelled that notion, however, successfully lobbying the FDA to officially designate the extra shot in a label change earlier this month. It now says the additional doses will count toward its existing contracts, meaning fewer vials will be delivered than were previously expected.

“In a situation of limited vaccine supply amidst a public health crisis, our intent with this label change is to provide clarity to health care providers, minimize vaccine wastage, and enable the most efficient use of the vaccine,” Rose said.

The sudden shift from five to six doses for each vial has made waves for health officials in countries beyond the US, as the European Union followed the FDA’s lead in formally labelling the sixth shot earlier this month. Belgium, for example, said it was forced to cancel some vaccination appointments after learning Pfizer would ship fewer vials, with an official overseeing the country’s inoculation drive, Sabine Stordeur, saying “one shouldn’t be surprised,” as “It’s still a private company.”

Those issues also come amid a series of delays in vaccine shipments across Europe, prompting complaints from Germany and even threats of legal action from Poland and Italy.

 


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Tony Winterburn

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