Shortage of Specialized Syringes Forces Japan to Discard Millions of Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccines

What’s the Story

Japan was able to acquire 144 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer for the immunization of its 72 million recipients.

Each vial contains six doses, as a recipient is required two shots with a three week interval, to strengthen the level of protection

The sixth shot requires a special syringe with a narrow plunger that can extract leftover vaccines while the five shots uses only the standard syringe.

Due to the shortage of low “dead space” syringes, only 60 million of its residents will be able to be vaccinated with the Pfizer shots.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is urging manufacturers of these specialized syringes to increase its production.

Japan says it has to throw away millions of Pfizer COVID-19 shots because it doesn’t have enough syringes to extract them

The country lacks enough special syringes to extract the sixth dose out of each vial, its health minister said.

The Business Insiders announced that according to Kyodo News, millions of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses are likely to be thrown away in Japan because the country doesn’t have enough special syringes to extract the final dose from each vial.

Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine is sold in vials containing six doses, but extracting the sixth dose requires a special syringe called a low-dead space syringe.

Japan announced last month that it had made a deal with Pfizer to buy 144 million shots — but without enough syringes to extract final doses, the country will have to revise the number of deliverable doses to 120 million.

Japan to discard millions of Pfizer vaccine doses because it has wrong syringes

The US and European Union countries have also reported a shortage of low dead space syringes, meaning there is likely to be strong competition to quickly secure additional supplies

Japan has secured 144m shots of the Pfizer vaccine – enough for 72 million people – on the assumption that each vial contained six doses, The Guardian reports.

According to Pfizer, each recipient requires two jabs, three weeks apart, to increase the level of protection.

But a shortage of low “dead space” syringes – which have narrow plungers that can push out any leftover vaccine – means vaccinators in Japan will have to use mainly standard syringes that are capable of extracting only five doses per vial, or enough for 60 million people.