A Radio Frequency Identification Chip may be attached to the container of individual doses of a new coronavirus vaccine, but it won't contain any patient information, ApiJect Systems America CEO Jay Walker told CBN News.
As part of a public-private partnership called "Project Jumpstart" whose aim is to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans as fast as possible, the US government announced a $138 million contract with ApiJect Systems America to manufacture medical-grade injection devices starting by October 2020.
ApiJect will manufacture pre-filled syringes using "Blow, Fill, Seal" technology many consumers may recognize from widely used single-use, disposable eye drops. Some facilities currently using BFS technology to manufacture eye drops will be upgraded in order to make and fill the vaccine containers. After the vaccine container is made and filled, a needle hub is added.
ApiJect expects to produce 100 million pre-filled syringes by year's end. The US Department of Defense is charged with distributing them nationwide. The pre-filled syringes will supplement the nation's existing but inadequate stockpile of traditional vaccine supplies such as glass vials, extremely specialized filling equipment needed to fill the vials, stoppers, and separate syringes.
"There's no problem with glass vials. They work wonderfully except when you need hundreds of millions of them all at once," Walker said. "All that equipment is currently busy working on cancer drugs and other lifesaving drugs. There is no excess capacity to fill 100 million, 150 million or more with a new vaccine."
Each pre-filled syringe will have a space on the package for a Radio Frequency Identification chip. The RFID is optional, and the government hasn't said yet whether they would like to include the chip on the individual vaccines.
"It has the unique serial number for each dose. It is designed so there is no counterfeiting. It's designed so we know the dose hasn't expired," Walker explained. "However that chip only refers to the dose. There's no personal information, no patient information," he continued. "It's simply like a bar code, only we know instantaneously where and when that dose has been used. That also helps public health officials know, when there are outbreaks, 'Have we vaccinated enough people in those areas?'"
ApiJect plans to produce over 500 million pre-filled syringes in 2021.
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