coronavirus vaccine

The US Awarded a Firm $1.3 Billion to Make Syringes. Where Are They?

The COVID vaccines are here, but the ApiJect syringe is not yet approved by federal regulators and a new factory in North Carolina is not yet built

This undated image provided by ApiJect Systems America in July 2020 shows a prototype of their "BFS" prefilled syringe. The devices are self-contained: the soft plastic blister is squeezed to push a dosage through the attached needle to inject into a patient. It also includes a computer chip that can transmit information about the drug, dose, location and time of administration. When precious vats of COVID-19 vaccine are finally ready, the ability to jab the lifesaving solution into the arms of Americans will require hundreds of millions of injections. The Trump administration  has agreed to invest more than half a billion in tax dollars in ApiJect Systems America, a young company whose injector is not approved by federal health authorities and who hasn’t yet set up a factory to manufacture the unapproved devices.
ApiJect Systems America via AP

A year after a Connecticut company was awarded almost $1.3 billion in federal loans and contracts to supply an essential syringe for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, no syringes have been made. The syringe hasn't received even the first of a series of approvals it needs from the federal government before it can be manufactured, and a factory promising 650 jobs remains unbuilt, NBC News reports.

ApiJect Systems Corp. positioned itself as the company that would make the difference between a stumbling rollout and delivery of lifesaving vaccines. But as the U.S. vaccine rollout hits full stride, with about half of adults in the U.S. having already received at least one injection, the need for ApiJect's device has waned, leaving the contracts and loans in question.

The company said in a statement to NBC News that it "is working with several vaccine pharmaceutical companies to conduct the testing and regulatory reviews of COVID-19 vaccines in the ApiJect syringe."

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However, a spokesperson for one of the vaccine makers Pfizer, said that even if ApiJect's syringe got all the necessary approvals from the Food and Drug Administration, it would "not have any impact on our output or process." Moderna didn't respond to a request for comment, and Johnson & Johnson declined to comment.

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