Is it five, or six doses per vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

·3 min read

Regina– If you know what you’re doing, it is possible to occasionally finagle a sixth COVID-19 dose out of a vial made by Pfizer labelled “five doses.” Now Pfizer has asked Health Canada to label its vials as having six doses, and Health Canada agreed.

But that doesn’t mean that all those very same vials now magically have a full six doses, and that’s a concern for Premier Scott Moe. He was asked about this on Feb. 11 during his regular COVID-19 briefing at the Legislature. The briefing had already been punctuated by some exasperation with, and hard choices resulting from, the lack of sufficient quantities of the vaccine.

Moe said, “I was vocal about those concerns as well. I believe we're able to get the sixth set of the Pfizer bottles, about half the time if I'm not mistaken, a bit more than half of the time, so, you know, I understand, with some additional, some different equipment such as syringes, that should increase. But we must also understand that, you know, these are these are humans, that are out trying to get every drop out of these out of these vaccine bottles as they possibly can, and my hat's off to the folks that have been doing it thus far. We're a little bit up over 100 per cent of our delivery rate here today, and I thank them for their very efficient efforts in getting there.

“But we have not been able to get all six doses out of each and every vial, and I'm concerned that we will not get all six doses out of each and every vial. I had voiced my concern to the prime minister and and to media, previously, that they should consider keeping it at five doses quite honestly, because it provides more access to more doses for Canadians. Here's why: as they change from five to six doses Canada's vials shipments will drop; we will get less vials in Saskatchewan and across Canada with the expectation that we will get six doses out of each vial.

“It isn't that way in other areas of the world. In the US, when they changed from five doses to six doses on their vial, they continued to receive the same number of vials, thereby increasing the doses that they were making available to Americans. So, that is problematic, and I had voiced that concern with the CEO of Pfizer Canada when I talked to him. But I understand that Health Canada has now made this change, and we await the delivery of the needles. My understanding is Health Canada has also, or the federal government, has procured I believe 77 million needles or syringes that they will make available to the provinces. We're expecting delivery of those later this week, or early next week. And we will do our best to extract every dose of vaccine out of those vials that we possibly can. But this is an error and likely will result in less doses for Canadians in the first quarter,” he said.

Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury