The World Health Organization (WHO) warned today that by 2022 there may be a shortage of one to two billion syringes needed to deliver covid-19 vaccines, which could affect all regular vaccination campaigns and undermine safe use.
National health services should record their need for syringes much earlier to avoid the “accumulation, panic markets and similar situations” faced by the world community at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic with the lack of personal protective equipment for health experts, said WHO expert Lisa Hedman.
“There may be a global shortage of vaccines suitable for vaccination, which in turn could cause serious problems by delaying immunization campaigns as well as raising safety concerns,” she said.
A shortage of syringes could delay regular vaccinations, especially for children, but also other health practices, and may encourage the reuse of syringes and needles, especially in poorer countries, Hedman said.
Approximately 6.8 billion doses of covid-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide, almost twice as many as regular vaccinations, she said, at a time when about 6 billion syringes could be made worldwide each year.
This means that the world could face shortages of up to two billion syringes a year, unless more factories start making syringes that are suitable for vaccines.