Each vial of the coronavirus vaccine contains six full doses. However, once the doses are taken, a small amount of the vaccine still remains in the vial. Hospital staff use what is leftover and top it up with a small amount from the next vial, allowing for seven doses of the vaccine. However, due to strict regulations, GGD staff may not do so.
Chair of the National Acute Care Network, Ernest Kuipers, and vaccine coordinator of all hospital pharmacists, Noortje Swart, believe that this sort of waste needs to stop.
Swart explains to AD that “this is standard practice in hospitals and completely safe.” She and Kuipers believe that the GGD should be adopting this practice as well. “We are in a time of crisis so we all have to be in a crisis position. We must not waste any vaccine,” she says.
However, the umbrella organisation of the GGDs claims that the RIVM and Youth Health Care have strictly forbidden them to mix doses from different vials. “This is very strict protocol and, under strict conditions, it is allowed to hospital pharmacists,” Kim Roetert of the GGD Ghor tells AD.
Inspection spokesperson, Mariël van Dam, elaborates further on the issue: “[mixing] is not allowed, no, because they work according to a guideline from the RIVM. We just have an agreement about this and we cannot make new agreements every week.”
Van Dam also explains that GGD staff do not have the same level of training as hospital staff. “Sifting out of a bottle is only reserved for hospitals because their people work with a certain education and skills.” However, Swart has pointed out that pharmacy staff are ready and willing to help train GGD staff on how to make use of the excess vaccine doses.
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