Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Kiwi ingenuity has figured out how to draw six doses from a vial of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine with a type of syringe other nations have only been able to draw five doses from.
In Japan millions of doses of Covid vaccine will reportedly be discarded because the nation does not have the correct type of syringes to draw six doses from each vial.
The Pfizer vaccine comes in vials which give five or six doses, depending on the syringe.
To extract the sixth dose, vaccinators need to use what is called a low dead space syringe. The low dead space is the amount left in the vial when the plunger is pushed down fully.
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Massive international demand for low dead space syringes has caused a shortage.
This month there have been concerns that a sixth of Australias vaccine supply was at risk because its government had not been able to secure enough low dead space syringes.
Last Wednesday, Stuff revealed the New Zealand government had secured enough specialised syringes to ensure none of its vaccine stock goes to waste.
However, it appears New Zealand vaccinators dont even need them.
During a press conference on February 24, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said health professionals had worked out how to get six doses out of Pfizer vials, without using a low dead space syringe.
Right from the start our nurses have been able to get six doses in most instances out of these five-dose vials, even with regular needles and syringes, Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield said the technique involved inverting the bottle to avoid gas getting into the syringe.
The government expects that most New Zealanders will be vaccinated by the end of this year. (File photo)
The low residual volume syringes and needles will almost guarantee we are able to do that each time, he said.
Exactly how health workers figured out the method is unclear.
Its also not clear why health workers had not been exclusively using the low dead space syringes officials confirmed had been sourced.
The Ministry did not provide details on whether any delay in receiving or distributing the low dead space syringe had occurred.
In many cases, we can safely get up to six doses out of the vial using standard needles and syringes, a Ministry spokeswoman said.
The ability to get six doses out of each vial became apparent as we began administering the vaccine. Vaccination programmes around the world have reported similar results from using standard needles and syringes.
It is important to note that using standard needles is just as safe and efficient as using low dead space needles. It does not involve any shortcuts or safety compromises.