Based on a scenario where about seven billion people will need two doses of coronavirus vaccine between now and 2023, the UN health organization said there could be a shortage of at least one billion syringes if production doesn’t get underway.
Lisa Hedman, WHO senior adviser in the Department of Access to Medicines and Health Products, warned that a generation of children could miss out on scheduled vaccination shots unless manufacturers find a way to make more single-use disposable syringes.
No place for shortcuts
“When you think about the magnitude of the number of injections being given to respond to the pandemic, this is not a place where we can afford shortcuts, shortages or anything but complete safety for patients and healthcare staff,” the WHO said. expert.
She told journalists in Geneva that more than 6.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are administered worldwide each year, which is almost double the number of routine vaccinations delivered annually:
“Unfortunately, a shortage of syringes is a real possibility and here are some more figures. That the global production capacity of about six billion a year for immunization syringes it is quite clear that there could be a shortage of more than a billion by 2022 if we continue as normal.”
Ms Hedman explains that reuse of syringes, even after they have been sterilized, was not advised as harmful bacteria remained.
She also noted that syringes were particularly sensitive to transport delays because they took up 10 times as much space as a vaccine.
Urgent need to step up shots
Meanwhile, heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, the WHO and the World Trade Organization (WTO) held a follow-up session of high-level consultations with the CEOs of leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers on Tuesday.
According to a press release, all participants at the meeting agreed on the urgency to deliver more vaccine doses to low-income countries, where less than 2.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
The purpose of the meeting was to determine how to ensure a more equitable distribution of vaccines and all participants pledged to continue to work together to gain clarity on donations, vaccine swaps and delivery schedules to facilitate the distribution of the life-saving vaccines. effectively target the countries most in need.
The Multilateral Leaders Task Force meeting on COVID-19 built on technical work performed by multidisciplinary teams over the months of September and October.
During the consultation, the heads of the four organizations and the CEOs also looked at how best to tackle trade-related bottlenecks; how to improve the donation process; what additional steps are needed to reach the vaccination target of 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of the year; and how to improve transparency and data sharing with the IMF-WHO Vaccine Supply Forecast Dashboard and the Multilateral Leaders Task Force.
The effort requires close collaboration between manufacturers, governments and the international COVAX initiative, on improved delivery schedules, especially for donated doses.