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Pfizer vials contain an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Since the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine began earlier this week, healthcare workers noticed that the vials — labeled by the FDA to contain five doses of the vaccine — had enough for six and sometimes even seven doses.

At first, this created some confusion in the healthcare industry, with pharmacists unsure what to do with the “leftovers” of the vaccine.

On Wednesday, the FDA gave health care workers the green light to use the excess vaccine in the vials. According to Jim Garrelts, vice-president of pharmacy services at Ascension Via Christi, manufacturers often overfill vials to account for waste and spillage. Garrelts, along with pharmacy manager Chuck Gerlach, were the first in their department to notice the overage. 

“This is a big blessing in disguise, you know, obviously there is not enough to vaccinate as quickly as everyone would like. What this allows us to do is stretch our limited vaccine further,” said Gerralts.

The extra dosage in the vials has increased Via Christi’s supply by about 18% and so far, they have vaccinated over 1,500 people.   

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