According to a report by the World Health Organization, there could be an international shortage of syringes next year with a deficit that approaches two billion.

Global COVID-19 campaigns have administered 7.25 billion vaccine doses worldwide. According to the AFP this is more than double the standard vaccines that are given each year.

This has led to an increase in the use of syringes, which is causing serious damage to global supply chains.

The WHO warned that if production is not increased, this could cause panic buying and hoarding, which can impede efforts to prevent people from a variety of diseases.

‘We are raising the real concern that we could have a shortage of immunization syringes, which would in turn lead to serious problems, such as slowing down immunization efforts,’ Lisa Hedman, WHO senior advisor to the Division of Access to Medicines and Health Products, told AFP.

“Depending on the rate of vaccine uptake, there could be anywhere between 1 billion and 2 billion in deficit.” 

The more than 7.25 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered worldwide have meant twice as many syringes are being used, badly eating into global supplies and likely leading to a needle shortage in 2022, the World Health Organization said

Globally, more than 7.25 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered. This has led to twice the number of syringes being used. It is likely that this will lead to an increase in needle shortages by 2022.

Hedman explained that the global manufacturing capacity for immunization syringes is around six billion per year and an estimated seven billion population will need to receive two doses of coronavirus vaccination between now and 2023. This makes it clear that there would be more than one billion unfilled vaccines in 2022. [needles]If we keep going with our business as usual, this could be what happens.

Hedman said that syringes also have a higher risk of supply chain delays than vaccine vials due to their size, which is ten times larger. 

An extended or severe shortage of needles could lead to delays in the administration of vaccines against other diseases.

The WHO approved the first ever global malaria vaccine last month. This is a huge boon for the developing world.

Children in West have to be vaccinated against measles and rubella.

Hedman stated that a delay in routine vaccines could cause a health problem for the public “for many years.”

Unsafe practices such as reusing needles or a shortage in syringes can also result from a shortage, she said. According to WHO, sterilizing needles doesn’t remove harmful bacteria.

Hedman encouraged countries to be proactive at a Geneva press conference.

If production does not ramp up, WHO said, it could lead to hoarding and panic buying, and stymie efforts to vaccinate against a host of other illnesses

WHO warned that if production is not increased, this could cause panic buying and hoarding, which can obstruct efforts to vaccine against other diseases.

With seven billion people needing two doses of coronavirus vaccine between now and 2023, and a global manufacturing capacity of around six billion immunization syringes a year, 'it's pretty clear that a deficit in 2022 of over a billion [needles] could happen if we continue with business as usual,' said WHO senior advisor Lisa Hedman

Seven billion people will need two doses coronavirus vaccine from now to 2023. With a worldwide manufacturing capacity of six billion immunizations per year, it’s clear there’s going to be a surplus in 2022. [needles]Could happen if business continues as normal,” said Lisa Hedman, senior WHO advisor.

“When you look at the volume of the injections required to fight the pandemic this is not an area where we can afford to make any cuts, to have shortages or compromise on safety, the only thing that matters to patients and their healthcare personnel, she stated. 

Syringes don’t go unnoticed. Experts earlier in the year warned that there was a shortage of sand. This could lead to delays in the production of millions of glass vials necessary to provide the coronavirus vaccination to people around the world.

Pascal Peduzzi from UNEP’s Global Resource Information Database stated in March that although he never imagined running out of sand at any point, it was happening.

The most widely used raw material in the world is sand. Sand can be used to create concrete, asphalt and silicon microchips.

At the moment, less than 1,000 US sand and gravel mines exist.

FiveThirtyEight.com reports that glass has been in short supply since 2015. This is due to sand being the main component of glass.

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, the world will need to buy two billion more glass vials over the next two-years.

Although the medical-glass market was beginning to catch up to demand by 2020, the pandemic and supply-chain problems, as well as the vaccination rollout, have regressed the industry significantly.

James Robinson, a vaccine expert, said that even if vaccines are loaded in 10-dose vials there’s still a need for hundreds of millions more vials to combat this pandemic.

Only three companies produce most of the glass tubes for pharmaceutical vials or syringes: Corning Schott, Nipro Pharma Corporation and Nipro Pharma Corporation.

It’s expensive to build new manufacturing plants and it is highly competitive for the angular sand required to make glass.

Both problems can be solved by the creation of needle-free vaccine patch.

A study published last month in the journal Science Advances showed promising results in mice.

A skin patch tested on mice outperformed needles in producing antibodies, and is able to stay stable at room temperature for nearly a month — compared to just hours for vials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines

A skin patch tested on mice outperformed needles in producing antibodies, and is able to stay stable at room temperature for nearly a month — compared to just hours for vials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines

The patches were one square centimeter in size and covered with over 5,000 microprickly spikes.

David Muller from the University of Queensland, a co-author of this paper, said that barbs can be’so small, you can’t really see’ them.

The vaccination was given to the mice either by traditional syringe, or through the application of the patch over the mouse’s head for two minutes.

Researchers found that the patches produced more antibodies than the needles.

They don’t need to be applied by trained professionals and last for at least 30 consecutive days at 77°F. This is in contrast to the few hours it takes to apply vials of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Vaxxas in Australia made the patch for this study. They are currently preparing human trials for April 2022.

AFP spoke with Michael Schrader CEO of Vaxxes, who stated that “This is the future” and believes it’s inevitable. “I believe that you’ll see in the next 10 year’s this will (will) dramatically transform the way vaccines are distributed around the globe.