Saturday 06 March 2021

Health boards accused of wasting vaccine, six week interval for Pfizer jab is safe


Hospital and pharmacy representatives have criticised regional health boards for wasting precious vaccine by not getting the maximum doses out of a bottle.

They claim people administering the vaccines at health board run centres are getting six doses from a Pfizer vial but are throwing away the remaining vaccine, or some 15% of the vial content, the AD reported.

In hospital pharmacies it is standard practice to fill up the vial with new vaccine so nothing goes to waste.

The health boards have said they would like to do the same but are not allowed to by law. ‘There are very strict protocols, and hospital pharmacies are only allowed to do this under strict guidelines,’ a spokesman for the health inspectorate told the paper.

Noortje Swart, who coordinates vaccine strategy for hospital pharmacies, told the AD that pharmacists are willing to help out. ‘We are in a crisis and everyone should be on a crisis footing,’ Swart said.


Meanwhile the national health council has told the government that the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be safely given after an interval of six weeks.

The period between vaccinations is being increased because of the shortage of vaccines and efforts to speed up the vaccination process.

The council said its recommendation is not based on new research but that the recommendation is an ‘adjustment of the product information’. Once there are more Pfizer vaccines available the second vaccination can take place after three weeks, as per Pfizer’s specification, the council said.

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