A*STAR and Local SME Work with Vaccination Centres to Deploy Automated Systems for Filling Syringes
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has developed an Automated Vaccine Inoculation Dispenser (AVID) system, which replaces the manual step of filling injection syringes with vaccine liquid. AVID is customised for the vaccination centres which are set up by the Ministry of Health and operated by private healthcare providers.
AVID was designed to address the labour-intensive steps of the vaccination process to reduce the workload of healthcare providers, increase accuracy and productivity, and enhance personal safety as well.
AVID was developed by researchers from A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) and Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), in collaboration with local systems integrator Sysmatic Global. The innovative HealthTech solution is the first of its kind to automate the extraction of vaccines from vials using a combination of robotic parts, smart sensors and digital technologies.
AVID currently supports the management of vials used to contain the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, with potential to be customised for the Moderna Vaccine as well.
How it works:
- After thawing of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, it is diluted in the vial.
- Typically, healthcare providers would then have to extract individual doses of the vaccine (0.3 mL for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine) using syringes. One vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contains six doses of vaccine after dilution.
- AVID automates this step of extraction of the vaccine from the vial into six individual syringes, including the dispersing of bubbles inside the syringes.
- AVID also automatically uncaps and recaps the syringes during the transfer of vaccine from vials to syringes.
- It is easy to use at just the push of some buttons, only needing simple training without any special qualifications required.
- Reduces workload of healthcare providers, by freeing them from the manual step of extracting vaccines from vials to syringes.
- Allows more focused attention by healthcare providers on interacting and communicating with people receiving the vaccinations.
- Increases productivity at vaccination centres via introduction of automated processes that are accurate, consistent, and fast.
- Reduces risks of cross-contamination and vaccine wastage via safe handling by the machine.
- Improves safety for healthcare providers by reducing the handling of sharp syringes during the extraction step.
- The machine’s small footprint and low weight (less than 25kg) means it can be easily deployed to any vaccination centre.
Development and Deployment:
- AVID was developed within six weeks from conceptualisation. It is the result of a collaboration between A*STAR’s ARTC and SIMTech, which provided expertise in robotics, automation and Industry 4.0 technologies, and Sysmatic Global which designed, integrated and constructed the machine.
- AVID has been deployed to at least seven vaccination centres so far, which administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Thomson Medical, a vaccination centre operator, also supported A*STAR in the development and trials of the machine.