Viability of glass vials for Covid vaccines must be addressed, says expert

Nina Massey, PA Science Correspondent
·1-min read

Consideration will have to be given to how vaccines continue to be manufactured as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, an expert has said.

Vaccines are currently produced in multiple-dose glass vials, but given the speciality of these, they may not be a viable option going forward as billions of people require jabs every year.

Dr Ian Muir, chief executive of Porton Biopharma and lead for the contract manufacture team of the UK’s Vaccine Task Force, said there are only a few manufacturers in the world who can make the specialised vials the vaccines are currently delivered in.

He told a press briefing: “We realised very early on in the Vaccine Task Force that this would be a key component and thinking ahead.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“And so, as the UK and with the companies involved we made very definitive moves to make sure that we secured large quantities of vials and the stoppers.”

He added the supply chain for the vials is getting longer as demand for them grows around the world.

Dr Muir said: “As we look forward more globally, I think the question that needs to be addressed is whether 10-dose glass vials are really the answer for seven billion people and whether we need to look at other delivery systems.

“So whether that is single use plastic vials or single use prefilled syringes or other alternative technologies that are out there, because just making enough glass, anywhere in the world, and filling it is going to be a real constraint.”

However he said the UK acted quickly and is currently “very well positioned” with regard to access to the vials.