New Telegraph

COVID-19: Global shortage of 1bn syringes may occur by 2023 –WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday expressed concern that shortage of at least one billion syringes “could occur”, if manufacturing does not pick up based on global demand for syringes. WHO, according to New Telegraph checks, said based on a scenario where around seven billion people would need two doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine between now and 2023, a shortage of at least one billion syringes could occur.

The agency, which noted that efforts to boost COVID- 19 vaccine production should match access to the syringes needed to inject them, added that there could even be a global shortage of needles for regular immunisation campaigns by 2022. Speaking on the sidelines of the dangers inherent, WHO’s Senior Advisor, from the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division, Lisa Hedman, warned that a generation of children might miss scheduled immunisation jabs unless manufacturers found a way to make more single-use disposable syringes.

She said: “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 short of full safety for patients and healthcare staff.” Speaking with journalists in Geneva, Switzerland, Hedman said more than 6.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines were being administered globally per year, which was nearly double the number of routine inoculations delivered annually: She added that: “A shortage of syringes is unfortunately a real possibility and here’s some more numbers. “That the global manufacturing capacity of around six billion a year for immunisation syringes, it’s pretty clear that a deficit in 2022 of over a billion could happen if we continue with business as usual.”

Hedman explained that reusing syringes even after they were sterilised was not advised, as harmful bacteria remained present. She also noted that syringes were particularly prone to transport delays because they took up 10 times the space of a vaccine. Meanwhile, heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank Group, WHO and World Trade Organisation (WTO) held a follow-up session of High-Level Consultations with the CEOs of leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies on Tuesday. At the meeting, according to a release, all participants agreed on the urgency of delivering more vaccine doses to low-income countries, where less than 2.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

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