A Massive Global Syringe Shortage Could Hit in 2022, WHO Warns

Tuesday's warning by the World Health Organization was that there may be a shortage of as many as 2 billion syringes by 2022. This could hamper global vaccine efforts if production doesn't improve.
COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have caused shortages. Worldwide, billions more syringes were used than usual, severely reducing global supplies.

Lisa Hedman is the WHO's senior advisor for access to medicines. She stated that as COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more popular, so should syringes.

She stated that she was concerned about the possibility of a shortage in immunization needles. This could lead to serious problems such as slowing down immunization efforts.

It could range from 1 billion to 2 million depending on the rate of vaccine uptake.

According to an AFP count, more than 7.25 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide.

This is nearly twice the annual number of routine vaccines and twice as many syringes.

Hedman stated that one of the most serious consequences of a shortage could include delays in routine vaccinations. This could have a negative impact on public health for years to come if there is a dearth of childhood vaccines.

Also, if there is a shortage of needles or syringes, it could lead to unsafe reusing.

Hedman stated that any restriction on the supply of syringe could only be made worse by transportation and export restrictions.

She advised countries to plan their syringe supplies well in advance to avoid panic buying and hoarding.

Hedman stated that "efforts are being made in order to reduce that risk by zero in terms of what the actual number could be".

(c) Agence France Presse