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Gareth Carpenter
8 Oct 2021

Pharmapack 2021: Pre-filled syringe technology could provide answers to future mass vaccination challenges, says BD

Pre-filled syringes (PFS) could help immensely in solving the challenges of rolling out future mass vaccination campaigns, according to experts at Becton Dickinson (BD).

Speaking at the Pharmapack Europe 2021 online conference in the session Responding to the Vaccine Delivery Challenges, Marie-Liesse Le Crofec, Global Portfolio Marketing Head, BD said that depending on the specificities of vaccines and their intended use situations, PFS technology could increase efficiency of workflow, increase dose-sparing capabilities compared to vials and have potential to limit random waste volume.

“It’s important that all stakeholders understand the benefits in terms of patient safety of PFS but also efficiency,” she said.

Quoting a 2010 study in the Expert Review of Vaccines, she said that it was calculated on the occasion of the last flu pandemic that the use of PFS to vaccinate 300 million people in the US could save over 3 million hours in healthcare worker time.

“The corresponding savings could contribute to making the decision of using PFS instead of multidose vials and disposable syringes cost neutral,” she added.

In terms of addressing current mass vaccination delivery challenges, Ms Le Crofec, said it made more sense to use existing vaccine distribution and administration infrastructures instead of creating new systems from scratch.

“We’ve witnessed that whenever the regular healthcare providers, the regular channels that are used to vaccinate against flu such as nursing homes and employers, were used, things were much smoother in the supply chain,” she explained.

She said another practical recommendation for government and authorities’ taskforces, was to ensure that experts with knowledge of all aspects of planning relative to pandemic response such as pharmacists and supply chain specialists are added to those teams.

“In the real-life clinical environment, before the purchase of massive amounts and release for use in vaccine administration, there were cases when sometimes we were asked for needles that clearly were not the appropriate length for those types of vaccines,” she said. “Having the right experts and practical testing of the disposable syringes that are used in such campaigns is what we really recommend for the future of this vaccination campaign and for future mass vaccination programmes.”

Guillaume Lehée, R&D Innovation Leader, BD said several drug formulations and technologies such as RNA vaccines and cell and gene therapies may require storage to very low negative temperatures such as -20 to -196 C.

He said that while the compatibility of vial containers with frozen storage conditions has quite a long and significant history, in contrast PFS compatibility has been quite poorly documented, with the main example of a glass PFS approved for cold storage being Medimmune’s Fluenz Tetra Nasal flu vaccine with a 20-week shelf life at -25 C.

He said that testing done by BD had shown that glass PFS did not present any risk regarding ensuring key product functions and sub-visible particles performance and maintaining container closure integrity during the thermal cycle when stored one week at -20 C and even down to -40 C.

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