FDA says the range of the Pfizer vaccine is up to 40 percent higher than previously thought because vials contain multiple doses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday that health officials could get as many as seven doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine from vials originally intended for just five.

Hospital pharmacists had noted the discovery on Twitter and on pharmacy message boards this week, when primary care health workers began receiving the vaccine on Monday.

On Wednesday evening, the FDA was officially opened released a statement on Twitter, writing that it knew “that some Pfizer BioNTech vials #COVID-19 Vaccine contains additional product after five doses have been obtained. “

At this point, given the public health emergency, the FDA recommends that it is acceptable to use any full dose available (the sixth or possibly even a seventh) from each vial, pending a solution of the problem, ”the FDA continued in a follow-up tweet.

However, the FDA added that the remaining material should not be combined from multiple vials to create a full dose and that the agency “was working with Pfizer to determine the best way forward, sharing additional updates as we have. that have. “

Politics first reported the finding of the additional dosage ahead of the FDA’s public announcement.

According to the news report, a federal health official informed vaccine providers on Wednesday morning that they can use any dose that can be obtained from a single vial. Pfizer learned of this change by noon.

Erin Fox, a pharmacy expert at the University of Utah who monitors drug shortages, told Politico that pharmaceutical manufacturers tend to overfill vaccine bottles in case of spills and other waste.

“It’s quite uncommon to get a full or more extra dose, but it seems to be there!” she said in an email to the news outlet.

Pfizer spokesperson Sharon Castillo told Politico earlier on Wednesday that “the amount of vaccine remaining in the multiple dose vial after disposal of 5 doses may vary depending on the type of needles and syringes used.”

Pfizer has said it has produced enough of the vaccine to deliver at least 25 million doses to the United States by the end of the year, enough for 12.5 million people, as the vaccine requires two injections within weeks of each other.

Federal officials have already dispensed about 2.9 million doses after FDA approval last week.

The final study data showed that Pfizer’s vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

The vaccine candidate developed by Moderna, which has similar efficacy, is also being considered for emergency FDA approval this week.