With tight vial supplies in some countries that are threatening the delivery of coronavirus vaccines, China’s vial makers will greatly expand production capacity.

Some analysts have estimated that at three doses per person, 5 billion vials would be needed for a global penetration rate of 20 percent for COVID-19 vaccines, and nearly 16 billion vials would be needed for a penetration rate of 70 percent, media reports have said.

A manager surnamed Qi at Shandong Pharmaceutical Glass, which makes vials for medicines and vaccines, has said that the company’s annual vial production can reach billions units, including 3 billion for low and neutral borosilicate glass.

“Most of our orders now are from domestic vaccine producers, including those for the novel coronavirus, and we plan to double our annual output,” said Qi.

A manager at Jiangsu Famacy Glass Co surnamed Wu told the Global Times on Sunday that domestic and overseas orders have increased, so production capacity will be expanded.

“Our current capacity of vaccine glass bottles is 1 million per day, and we plan to double that due to high demand,” said Wu.

Work has started on new facilities, and they’re expected to be completed in six months. 

The China Vaccine Industry Association has said that China’s annual production of vaccine vials can reach at least 8 billion, enough to meet the need for novel coronavirus vaccines.

A source at Sinovac Biotech told AG that so far there has been no shortage of vials.

Other issue adding to the requirements of the vaccine supply chain in some countries is the rising amount of disinfection work needed for vials before use.

A company in Switzerland that provides disinfection service for vaccine vials is giving priority to vials for COVID-19, CCTV news reported on Sunday.

Based on current orders, the company will sterilize 220 million vaccine vials this year, up more than 20 percent from 2020, according to the report.

Vial disinfection has not been an issue for vaccine suppliers in China, because many, like Sinovac Biotech, do the work themselves for quality reasons.

There are several procedures involved, including the use of ultrasonic equipment for pre-cleaning and water washing before drying the vials at 350 C, the company said recently.

All the washing and disinfection equipment used by Sinovac Biotech is domestically made, according to media reports.

With the experience, techniques and capacity in the supply of other vaccines for China’s huge population, domestic companies are prepared for the situation, experts said.

It’s all hands to the pump…and my goodness, don’t we need everyone and every company to play their part right now…

Happy reading

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