A global shortage of syringes could hamper Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout by causing thousands of doses to be wasted.
The Pfizer vaccine, which started its rollout on Sunday morning, uses a custom-made low dead-space syringe, which Australia has ordered.
These syringes can extract an extra sixth dose from a vial of the vaccine, whereas standard syringes can only get five.
Pictured: Medical staff work at a pop-up Covid-19 testing site in Brighton, Melbourne on Saturday, February 6
The Pfizer vaccine, which started its rollout on Sunday morning, uses a custom-made low dead-space syringe, which Australia has ordered
‘Even with a steady hand and a sharp eye, often you can’t get out that last drop,’ Mike Toole from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne told the Herald Sun.
‘So the idea with these specialist syringes is there’s no dead space between the plunger and the needle so you can draw the entire vial.’
When the new syringes would be available and arrive in Australia is unclear.
Victoria has recorded no new Covid-19 cases just days after the ending its third lockdown.
There were zero local and overseas-acquired cases of coronavirus recorded on Saturday in Victoria, with more than 10,300 tests conducted.
Twenty-five active cases remain in the state.
It was the second consecutive day without a local case after three people in the same family tested positive on Thursday.
Two women skateboard at Port Melbourne Beach on February 13 amid Stage 4 lockdowns
Twenty-two cases have been traced back to a family-of-three staying on the third floor of the Holiday Inn who caught the UK strain of the virus.
Authorities believe the outbreak began when one of the family members used a nebuliser medical device that caused the virus to spread through the air.
Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters on Saturday that the crisis is ‘far from being over’ but low figures indicate the situation was under control.
He also said low case numbers give authorities ‘increasing confidence’ that remaining restrictions could be eased next Friday.
Some rules, including mask-wearing inside and limits of five people per household, would remain.
Pictured: People crossing the lights on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne CBD on February 18
But residents across Carrum Downs, Langwarrin and Skye in Melbourne are on high alert after fragments of the virus were found in sewage.
Health bosses said the traces could be a result of person with Covid in the infectious phase of the illness, or as they continue to shed the virus after the infectious period.
‘When we get detection in sewage it might mean that it is a recovered case but it can also mean that we missed someone because they are positive because they haven’t been tested yet,’ Mr Sutton said on Saturday.
Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested.
Ahead of Monday’s vaccination rollout in Victoria and across Australia, 20 protesters were arrested in Melbourne on Saturday after rallying in opposition to mandatory inoculation.
Pictured: Police attempt to put a mask on an arrested protester during an anti-vaccination rally in Melbourne on Saturday, February 20
Pictured: Pete Evans addresses fellow protestors on February 20 in Sydney in a rally against the Covid vaccine
Fifteen of the people arrested were fined and five others were charged with offences including resisting arrest.
Protests were also held in Sydney, Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Albany.
Before protesters undertook rallies, Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters that while a Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport cluster was ‘far from being over,’ the numbers indicated it was ‘increasingly under control’.
Austin Health, Monash Health and Western Health hospitals will distribute Victoria’s first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Mr Foley said workers who are most likely to come into direct contact with Covid-positive people will be first in line for the jab from Monday.
Pictured: Protesters rally against ‘mandatory’ Covid-19 vaccinations on February 20
This includes hotel quarantine workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff and aged care staff and residents.
The federal government has allocated 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Victoria in the first week of the vaccination program.
‘People will over time see that the vaccine is working, that it’s protecting individuals, that we’re not seeing issues of quality or safety and there will be increasing confidence,’ Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters.
Six other hospitals will also become vaccination hubs as more jabs become available. They are Albury-Wodonga Health, Ballarat Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health and Latrobe Health.