According to an infectious disease pharmacist with Huntsville Hospital, some vials of the Pfizer vaccine contain enough medicine to create an extra dose.
Each vial comes with enough for 5 doses, but infectious disease pharmacist Jonathan Edwards said drugmakers add extra medication to each vial to ensure there's enough for the minimum number of doses. He said that because the Pfizer vaccine must be dilluted, there is sometimes enough liquid for a 6th dose.
Edwards said it's called overfill volume, and said that in this case the extra medicine is a "blessing."
Wednesday, the FDA said pharmacists can use the 6th dose as an extra safe and effective vaccine. Edwards said they've already been able to do that at Huntsville Hospital, and said it's helping to expand their limited vaccine supply.
Edwards told us that while they can create a 6th dose from an overfilled vial, the FDA says they can't combine the left over vaccine from multiple vials.
However, Edwards said the vaccine is a major development in controling the pandemic, so they're excited about being able to stretch their current supply. He says it's one of our best tools to contain the virus.
“Preventative is always the best medicine, so if we can prevent it from occurring in the first place then we’re all going to better off for it," said Edwards. He continued, "We feel this has been a great advance and we’re hopeful and we’re hopeful it’s going to get things back to normal."
Edwards has been working as a pharamacist in Huntsville for 18 years. He told us as soon as he's able to get the vaccine, he plans to do so.