On April 1th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two revisions regarding the number of doses per vial available for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. The first revision clarifies the number of doses per vial for the vials that are currently available, in that the maximum number of extractable doses is 11, with a range of 10-11 doses. The second revision authorizes the availability of an additional multi-dose vial in which each vial contains a maximum of 15 doses, with a range of 13-15 doses that can potentially be extracted.
“Both of these revisions positively impact the supply of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which will help provide more vaccine doses to communities and allow shots to get into arms more quickly. Ultimately, more vaccines getting to the public in a timely manner should help bring an end to the pandemic more rapidly,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the second vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergency use authorization allows the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.
Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses who had no evidence of being previously infected. The vaccine appeared to have high effectiveness in clinical trials (efficacy) among people of diverse age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions. Although few people in the clinical trials were admitted to the hospital, this happened less often in the people who got the Moderna vaccine compared to people who got the saline placebo.
The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever.
Revisions for the Number of Doses Per Vial
Depending on the type of syringes and needles used to extract each dose, there may not be sufficient volume to extract more than 10 doses from the vial containing a maximum of 11 doses or more than 13 doses from the vial containing a maximum of 15 doses.
“To support these changes to the emergency use authorization, the FDA evaluated data showing the number of doses that could be extracted from the vials and on the fill volumes for both vials that were submitted by ModernaTX, Inc. The Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and Prescribing Information have been revised to reflect the new information and are intended to help frontline workers administering COVID-19 vaccines understand the number of doses that can potentially be extracted per vial,” – FDA report.
Because the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain preservative, any further remaining product that does not constitute a full dose should not be pooled from multiple vials to create one full dose. If one vial becomes contaminated during use, pooling doses from multiple vials can spread contamination to other vials. Use of contaminated vials may cause serious bacterial infections in vaccinated individuals. The updated information in the revised Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers and Prescribing Information provides instructions to not pool vaccine from multiple vials.