Japanese Minister of Health Tamura Tsunehisa said that due to the lack of special syringes that can extract the final dose from the vial provided by the drug manufacturer, Japan is unlikely to vaccinate so many people as planned, because Pfizer has insufficient COVID-19 vaccine.
The country said last month that it had ensured a dose for 72 million people based on the assumption that each vial could provide six injections. However, if there is no low dead-angle syringe, this syringe can reduce the amount of vaccine remaining in the syringe after use, so a medicine bottle can eventually produce only five doses, which is enough to hold 60 million people.
Tamura said: “The syringes used in Japan can only inject five doses. We will use all existing syringes that can inject six doses, but as more drugs are injected, this is of course not enough.”
Senior government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said on Monday that if the sixth dose cannot be extracted, it will usually be “discarded.”
The government requires medical device manufacturers to speed up the production of special syringes.
Reuters reported last month that the United States and European Union countries have also been striving to obtain enough low-dead-space syringes to squeeze more doses from Pfizer vaccine and urge manufacturers to increase overall production capacity.
Health Minister Norihisa Tamura speaks at a government subcommittee meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic in Tokyo on Tuesday. | Xie Teng
Yoshinori Oguchi, a member of the ruling party’s junior coalition partner, Akira Oguchi, said the government should have assumed that each vial could only provide five doses when providing vaccines to 72 million people.
An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted: “When we signed the contract, we were not entirely sure that one bottle could be shot six times.” “We can’t deny that we proved this very slowly.
According to government sources, if Japan does not change the number of vials ordered from Pfizer, it will modify the dose it can provide to 120 million.
A senior official from the Ministry of Health said the government will discuss with Pfizer to provide more doses to Japan.
The Pfizer vaccine being reviewed by the Ministry of Health is expected to be approved on February 15, when the Ministry of Health will hold an expert group meeting. At the same time, the British company AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca PLC) stated that it has formally applied to the ministry for approval of its vaccine.
The government plans to start vaccinating health workers on February 17 to conduct a study to verify the safety of the vaccine, and then start vaccinating approximately 36 million people over 65 years old from April.
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Post time: Mar-08-2021