July 29, 2021

As vaccine hopes rise, U.S. races to buy syringes to avoid a mask-shortage scenario

As scientists race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, some experts warned that syringes could become the next face masks – coveted items in short supply able to plunge the market into chaos.

But it appears that the federal government and health care supply companies learned a lesson from the mad scramble for masks and other personal protective equipment that came to symbolize the early weeks of the pandemic.

Rather than wait for a viable vaccine to stock up on syringes, the federal government is securing them now. To date, it has signed at least $260 million in contracts for their production.

“In the U.S., we’re in a well-positioned and well-prepared place,” said Chaun Powell, group vice president of strategic supplier engagement at hospital supply-purchasing group Premier Inc.

Learn how PPE became scarce: Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late

Global demand could still drain U.S. manufacturers’ supplies, he warned, and syringe shortages could emerge if the vaccine arrives earlier than anticipated.

A vaccine could be ready by early 2021, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this week. But there’s no guarantee, he warned.

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