Pfizer to Ship Smaller Packages of COVID Vaccine to Cut Waste, Boost Uptake

FRIDAY, Sept. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Smaller packages of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine that could be available this fall might improve vaccine access and reduce the number of wasted doses, government documents show.

The Pfizer vaccine has been available in two packages, one with 450 doses and another with 1,170, but the vaccine’s storage requirements make it difficult for smaller facilities to store large amounts of the vaccine without wasting doses, CBS News reported.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document obtained by CBS News says smaller packages of the vaccine may be available by October, with the agency telling its immunization partners to “stay tuned for more details.”

The CDC didn’t respond to a request for comment, but Pfizer confirmed it’s working on smaller packages of its vaccine, CBS News reported.

The reduced package size might make it possible to ship vaccines directly to doctor’s offices, Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Officers, told CBS News.

“We’ve seen over and over again, people will go and talk to their doctor and they’ll be determined they’re not going to be vaccinated, then talk to their doctor and they change their mind,” he said. “This is the place we feel like we can get a lot of people to change their mind who aren’t going to change their mind with the public messaging we’re doing and other things.”

Adriane Casalotti, government and public affairs chief for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CBS News that the smaller packages could help more rural public health departments that struggled with vaccine logistics in the spring.

“This certainly would provide more flexibility for those situations,” she said.

So far, more than 14.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been wasted, which is about 3.4% of all delivered doses, a CDC spokesperson said earlier this week.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.