US drugmaker Pfizer aims to roll out smaller packages of its Covid-19 vaccine for public health departments and care providers by October, media reports said. Pfizer is working on smaller packing options, the drug maker said in a statement to CBS News.
The change can help increase the availability of vaccines in smaller, more rural areas and decrease the number of wasted doses.
Currently, Pfizer’s mRNA Covid vaccine is available in two packages: one with 450 doses and another with 1,170. But the vaccine’s cold storage requirement limits where and for how long they can be kept, making it challenging for smaller facilities to store high quantities of the vaccine without wasting doses.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last month, updated the immunisation partners of the potential change — revealed a document obtained by CBS News.
While the CDC document did not specify what the new packaging would entail, it told partners to “stay tuned for more details”.
The change could allow shipments to go directly to doctor’s offices, Dr Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Officers, was quoted as saying.
Presently, doses meant for locations without sufficient storage capabilities are often siphoned off from a larger facility where they’re held to reduce waste, the report said.
More than 14.5 million doses have been wasted so far, roughly 3.4 per cent of all delivered doses, a CDC spokesperson said last week.
Jabs delivered in multidose vials, like the Covid-19 shots, typically have a waste rate of 5-15 per cent, the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Pfizer’s booster shot is likely to get US Food and Drug Administration and CDC approval for a rollout by September 20. Moderna may get delayed.
As of now, an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna has been authorised for Americans who are immunocompromised. More than 1.3 million such immunocompromised individuals have received an additional shot, according to the CDC.