More doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available after the FDA revised how many doses could be available per vial, up to 50% more.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the availability of a multi-use vial containing a maximum of 15 doses. The currently available vial holds ten doses.
The agency also clarified that in the current vial, there could be 10 to 11 doses. This means health workers giving vaccines can extract an 11th dose if there is extra in the vial depending on the syringes and needles they use.
The authorization to increase how many doses are available per vial could increase the number of vaccine doses available in the country by about 20%, according to the New York Times.
“Both of these revisions positively impact the supply of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which will help provide more vaccine doses to communities and allow shots to get into arms more quickly,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in a statement.
However the increased number of doses per vial will not happen overnight. Moderna has said it could take a few weeks to adjust their production lines to increase the amount of vaccine in each vial.
Moderna has been in discussions with the FDA over these dosing changes since February, and they hope to make needed production line changes by the end of April.
The FDA’s updates to their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheetalso say it can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours now, an increase of 12 hours over previous recommendations. It can also be administered over a 12-hour period after the first puncture, double the initial recommendation of six hours.
In their statement regarding the increased doses, the FDA still advises against “pooling” vaccine doses.
This is when the remaining vaccine from two or more used vials is combined to make one full dose. The agency says they recommend against this practice because the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a preservative and there is a risk of contamination.