The Corner

Health Care

How to Create 40 Percent More Vaccine, Instantly

Alex Tabarrok points out that some health professionals have been surprised to discover they can get seven full doses of the new Pfizer COVID vaccine out of a vial that nominally contains five doses. Seven vs. five is a very big deal when you’re trying to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people as quickly as possible. The difference lies in the syringe: all syringes waste a bit of whatever is in them — this is called dead volume — but some are so well engineered that they waste much less. Using “low dead-volume” syringes can buy you 40 percent more doses in a vial, and Tabarrok says they don’t cost that much more. So far these special syringes are not a standard item in the kits HHS is sending out, but making and distributing more of these useful items is an innovation that could save many lives.

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