Changes to clinical guidance and preparation instructions for Comirnaty™ vaccine


26 Mar 2021

The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), has made changes to the protocols for drawing-up of reconstituted vaccine doses from the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty™) vaccine vials.

The new preparation instructions include the use of Low Dead Space (LDS) 25-gauge needles for drawing-up and administration of the vaccine. This follows best practice from overseas and the vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations.

The Ministry of Health Operating Guidelines for DHBs and Providers have also been updated to reflect the following changes in guidance:

  1. Move to a 20-minute wait for all following administration, with option for longer at vaccinator's discretion.
  2. No longer need to ask about checkpoint inhibitor medication.
  3. Reducing the rigidity of the rules around vaccine spacing.
  4. More detailed guidance on bleeding disorders.
  5. Slight rewording of pregnancy advice to provide further clarification.

The following documents have been updated to reflected these new changes:

The new LDS needles are now available at vaccination sites from Monday 29th March 2021 and the new protocol for drawing up commences that day.

Last updated: 19 April 2021