By Fernando Heller
(EurActiv) — Two Spanish nurses have come up with a way to extract an extra seventh dose from six-dose vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by removing the remnants of the solution with specialised equipment, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
Ana Sola Martin and Natalia Coll from the Clinic Hospital in Valencia told Efe that by using more precise syringes with a larger dead space — the gap between the plunger and the base of the needle — they were able to maximise the usage of the vaccine, which has become “liquid gold” in the bid to end the pandemic.
A similar result was reported in Finland earlier this month.
Martin explained that they had decided to do “a mathematical calculation” when they realised there was a shortage in the distribution of vaccines, made worse by the need to urgently distribute second doses to health workers and nursing staff.
The nurses said they had chosen the sort of needle commonly used to administer insulin.
“It is much smaller, has more dead space and is much more precise,” Martin said.
Both nurses believe the process could also be applied to vials of Moderna’s vaccine, from which 10 doses are currently being taken.
“We are in the process of verifying this, but when you have a bigger number of doses, the manufacturer has to leave more remnants and therefore you get an extra dose: In the case of Moderna, there are 0.5 millilitres left, and not 0.3, like in the case of Pfizer’s vaccine,” Martin said.
This is not the first time that nurses manage to extract seven doses from Pfizer-BioNTech ‘s COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier in February, a nurse from Finland managed to do it too, by using a special syringe.
COVID-19 Infections continue to fall
According to fresh data from Spain’s health ministry, coronavirus infections in the country continue to fall sharply and that trend is likely to continue, experts said.
Fernando Simón, the director of the Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), has reported 30,251 cases, 16,844 fewer than a week before.
Several regions in Spain began vaccinating people over 80 years of age this week. However, the vaccination pace is not homogeneous – while some regions have moved very fast, others are still inoculating previous target groups.