Houston Methodist able to get extra doses of vaccine out of vial

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Doctors compared it to Christmas morning as thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Houston this week.

"The look of both excitement and relief for a lot of our staff is just wonderful," said Dr. Roberta Schwartz, Executive Vice President of Houston Methodist.

Now, there's another gift.

Pharmacists are able to get an extra dose of the vaccine out of each vial, going from five doses to six. It's based on the extra overfill that's in each vial.

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"Most manufactures build in a level of what they call overfill in a dosing vial so that in case you draw up and kind of squirt down to the right level, you have a little bit of extra and you don't run short. But there was enough, and most of us are using pharmacist on site to assist in the draw up of those doses so they are being very precise. When you're very precise, you can get that sixth dose out of the vial," said Schwartz.

After seeing the overfill, they reached out to the company.

"The original guidelines of what came in a vial, was that you could get five doses out of each one of the vials and so far, after we kind of recognized that there was overfill and were able to speak with the manufacturer, the manufacturer did not discourage us from using the overfill," she said.

That extra dose per vial equates to more than a thousand total extra doses. The 13,650 doses at Houston Methodist now stretches to more than 15,000 doses.

"We are able to start scheduling more people than we originally anticipated," said Schwartz.

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