Some European countries are drawing fewer than the approved six doses from Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine vials, meaning shots are likely going to waste even as nations plead for more.
Officials and healthcare professionals in France, Germany and Switzerland all pointed to yields short of six doses, adding to frustrations in countries already lagging vaccination campaigns in nations such as Britain and the United States.
The losses add up: For 200,000 vials of the two-shot vaccine, 600,000 people can be inoculated at six doses per vial, compared with 500,000 at just five.
The difficulties could also hinder Pfizer and BioNTech's new production target of 2 billion COVID-19 shots in 2021, up from 1.3 billion previously.
The higher production forecast assumes health teams can draw that sixth dose from vials where this is permitted, thus stretching supplies.
In France, authorities acknowledge vials contain more than five doses, but early on advised health workers to aim for five. Some French experts said dose-maximizing syringes were lacking.