COVID-19 Vaccine Production Causes Vial Shortage

Cleveland OH, December 17, 2021 – Parenteral vial shortages have persisted since the first COVID-19 vaccines started being administered in late 2020, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis.

With a global population of nearly eight billion, the requirements of two doses (plus a booster) for many COVID-19 vaccines, and significant existing demand for vials for other drugs, the need for glass vials has become immense, challenging current capacity levels. Vial manufacturing has been slow to scale up to meet surging demand due to the capital-intensive nature of production and challenges in sourcing sufficient raw materials, though some expansions have been announced.

Additionally, manufacturers may be reluctant to increase production if demand does not remain elevated in the long term. Vaccine production for the entire world (or at the very least, enough for herd immunity) will probably be met in late 2022 or early 2023, though the possibility of new variants emerging beyond Delta and Omicron could increase the need for additional boosters in the future.

Despite Vial Shortage, Pandemic’s Impact on Global Pharmaceutical Packaging Market Small

Other than the ongoing shortage of glass vials, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exerted a minor direct influence on the global pharmaceutical packaging market. COVID-19 vaccines are only a small portion of the applications for packaging in the pharmaceutical market, and demand for most other pharmaceutical packaging has continued to increase in line with trends in the production of drugs, dietary supplements, and nutritional preparations.

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Global Pharmaceutical Packaging, now available from the Freedonia Group, forecasts global demand for pharmaceutical packaging to rise 6.0% annually to $112 billion in 2025.

This study provides historical data (2010, 2015, 2020) and demand forecasts for 2025 and 2030 for pharmaceutical packaging in million US dollars (including inflation) by product, geographical region, and selected countries. Unit demand for the same years are provided for most product groups. Material trends (plastic, glass, paper/paperboard, metal/foil) and corporate analysis including market share are also provided.


  • bottles and jars
  • blister packaging
  • prefillable syringes (injectors and cartridge holders)
  • parenteral vials and ampuls, including both glass and plastic types
  • IV containers (semi-rigid plastic IV containers, flexible IV minibags, and glass IV containers)
  • boxes and cartons (folding boxes and cartons, setup boxes, and corrugated shipping containers
  • pouches, including paper, plastic, and foil types
  • tubes, including composite tubes, plastic tubes, and collapsible metal tubes
  • other packaging (prescription containers, strip packs, etc.)

Pharmaceutical caps and closures, labels, and packaging accessories are excluded unless otherwise stated.