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Nebraska at center of COVID vaccine syringe distribution

Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 19:18:43-05

LINCOLN, Neb. — Becton Dickinson (BD) has led in needle and syringe production all across the world for years. Now, they're putting all their efforts into COVID-19 syringes, even expanding production to meet the needs of the mass vaccination effort.

BD has four locations in Nebraska and has been doing business in the state for about 70 years.

"We normally make seven billion syringes a year, we're going to make an extra billion this year to specifically deliver the COVID vaccine," BD CEO Thomas Polen said at Governor Ricketts' news conference Wednesday.

Part of the expansion means hiring more staff at the Nebraska locations. That's on top of the 3,500 jobs they've already created in the state.

"Roughly across the state, it's approximately 200 to 250 associates that we've added...to meet our demand for the pandemic," BD plant manager Heath Peterson said.

BD has been in touch with the federal government to make sure enough syringes are being produced to support the worldwide vaccination effort.

"This past December we announced a $1.2 billion investment over four years to expand production capacity there in Columbus, Nebraska as well as in other parts of the world for our pre-filled syringes. This is as vaccines move from vials into pre-filled devices. We're going to be making those devices right there in Nebraska," Polen said.