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  • Lawrence Ng

Automated Syringe-Filling Machines Now in Some COVID-19 Vaccination Centres in Singapore

An automated vaccine extractor has recently been deployed at seven COVID-19 vaccination centres in Singapore such as Senja-Cashew Community Club and Bishan Community Club. This can allow staff to forego the manual filling of syringes with liquid doses. The machine is capable of administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and is meant to lessen the workload of healthcare workers as well as boost accuracy and productivity. Aside from that, nurses might be able to accommodate twice as many patients in a day, thanks to the machine.

Credit: Calvin Oh via Channel News Asia

"An Automated Vaccine Inoculation Dispenser (AVID) system which uses robotics, smart sensors and digital technologies, has replaced the manual step of filling injection syringes with vaccine liquid. This allows healthcare providers more focused attention on interacting and communicating with people receiving the vaccinations," wrote the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in a Facebook post.

A*STAR's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Sysmatic Global collaborated to develop AVID.

Before using AVID, healthcare professionals will need to thaw the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and dilute it in the vial. Usually, vaccine administrators then use syringes to extract individual doses from the vial, with one vial containing six vaccine doses after dilution. These workers will also disperse the bubbles inside the syringes. This procedure can last from 20 to 30 seconds for each person being vaccinated.

When these steps are done with the machine, the process is automated. AVID also uncaps and recaps the syringes during the transfer of the vaccine from vials to syringes.

Credit: Calvin Oh via Channel News Asia

A*STAR said that AVID is easy to use, with healthcare providers only needing to push buttons for the machine to do its work. The machine can decrease the risk of cross-contamination and vaccine wastage, as well as increase the safety of healthcare workers as they do not need to handle the syringes during the extraction process.

Credit: Gin Tay via The Straits Times

Technology similarly facilitated another aspect of Singapore's COVID-19 response, which is the distribution of COVID-19 test kits. Recently, 20 vending machines that dispense antigen rapid test kits were installed at several private hospitals and firms in the country.

Finance technology start-up Beep Technologies is working with IHH Healthcare Singapore's hospitals, such as Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, to install these machines in those medical facilities. The machines have been installed at the National University Hospital (NUH), Alexandra Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital as well.


Written by Sophia Lopez


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