Planning ahead: U.S., Canada order 177M more COVID-19 vaccine syringes from BD

Many countries are working to have the necessary medical infrastructure in place before a COVID-19 vaccine is proven effective. And now, as promising data begins to trickle in from a number of drugmakers, the U.S. is nearly quadrupling its orders for needles and syringes made by BD.

The U.S. ordered an additional 140 million injection devices from the medtech giant, bringing its total to 190 million. Meanwhile, Canada just about doubled its order, from 38 million to 75 million.

BD said a majority of the international orders it’s received, including over 100 million from the U.K., are slated to be delivered before the end of the year, in anticipation of a coronavirus vaccine being approved in late 2020 or early 2021. The company is also preparing for future vaccines to require two doses per person.

With global demand only expected to increase, BD urged governments to place orders immediately, for delivery in the first months of next year.

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At the same time, the company said it does not expect these new COVID-19 orders to impact its other injector production plans, aimed at the annual flu season and other vaccination campaigns. BD is one of the largest producers of injection devices in the world, making billions of syringes and needles annually through a global manufacturing network.

Earlier this month, BD partnered with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, known as BARDA, on a $70 million project to expand its needle and syringe manufacturing operations in Nebraska.

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This includes $42 million from BARDA to help set up new production lines that will provide “priority access” to the U.S. government for future pandemic vaccination efforts, as part of its Warp Speed program.

Over the past four years BD has committed more than $340 million in investments for its Nebraska facilities, according to Rick Byrd, president of BD’s medication delivery solutions business. The new manufacturing capacity is expected to come online within the next 12 months.