Staff preparing the refrigerated COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)™ vaccine for administration must follow this procedure. When working in pairs, it is the responsibility of both people to continue to follow this procedure and observe all local COVID-19 precautions, including maintaining social distancing where possible.
The COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech (COMIRNATY™) vaccine must be thawed before use following removal from a frozen storage environment. Refer to
Management of COVID-19 Pfizer (COMIRNATY™) vaccine from freezer to refrigerator for information on this procedure.
Once thawed, the COMIRNATY™ concentrate vaccine vial must not be re-frozen. A thawed concentrate vial can be stored at +2 to +8°C for up to 1 month (31 days).
Each vial tray contains 195 vials. If removing less than the full quantity of vials from the tray within the refrigerator, ensure that the tray remains enclosed with the lid, after removal of the required number of vials. Note each vial provides 5 doses when using standard stock needles and syringes for drawing up and 6 doses if using low dead space syringes and needles – see recommended procedures in appendix 1.
This procedure covers the process from the removal of vials of thawed concentrate vaccine from the vial tray in the refrigerator, dilution of the concentrate vaccine, and drawing up individual doses into a syringe to the point of administration.
This procedure may be adapted to suit one of the following models:
The procedure utilised to draw up the vaccine will be dependent on the equipment that has been supplied by the Australian Government for use in the COVID-19 vaccination program and the preferred drawing up method that has been agreed on for consistent use at the hub/clinic i.e. multiple puncture or single puncture technique. Hubs/clinics should trial new equipment when it is received to determine which drawing up technique will ensure that 6 doses of the vaccine are consistently achieved, and ensure staff are familiar with the equipment. This technique should subsequently be consistently used by all individuals involved in the drawing up process in that hub/clinic. When new equipment is introduced a phased approach may be required.
Staff involved in the drawing up process should check what equipment has been supplied and follow the appropriate procedure described in appendix 1.
Where vaccines are prepared and administered by different staff the handover process must be clearly documented as per local guidelines.
A NSW Health Expert Working Group has assessed the techniques for available equipment, and the determined the following methods appropriate and reliable.
Note: If the Vernacare low dead space syringes and needles are available and supplies are constrained the following can be used to achieve the 6 doses:
(to be used when concentrated vaccine is removed from freezer)