Asia Today: S. Korea allows workers to squeeze extra doses

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Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan, fourth left, and Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip, fourth right, with Cathay Pacific and Fosun Pharma Co. representatives gesture after the delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccines at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jerome Favre/Pool Photo via AP)

HONG KONG – South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency has allowed health workers to squeeze extra doses from vials of coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

The decision on Saturday came after some health workers who were administering the AstraZeneca shots reported to authorities that they still saw additional doses left in the bottles that had each been used for 10 injections.

KDCA official Jeong Gyeong-shil said skilled workers may be able to squeeze one or two extra doses from each vial if they use low dead-volume syringes designed to reduce wasted medications and vaccines.

However, she said the KDCA isn’t allowing health workers from combining vaccines left in different bottles to create more doses.

The KDCA had previously authorized 10 injections for each AstraZeneca vial and six for each Pfizer vial.

South Korea, which launched its public vaccination campaign on Friday, is administering the AstraZeneca shots to residents and workers at long-term care facilities and the Pfizer ones to front-line medical workers.

South Korea on Saturday reported another 405 coronavirus cases.

In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region: