From Belgium to French nursing homes by road. One week before the theoretical start of the first vaccinations within the EU, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for pharmaceutical products for human use must give its conditional authorization for one year on Monday for a the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine market. But Pfizer did not wait for the approval of the EU to produce its remedy at its plant in Puurs, Belgium. This is where all the doses of this vaccine will leave, especially for France, to 130 metropolitan sites equipped with super-freezers at -80 degrees Celsius.
130 sites to distribute doses
The delivery will be by truck, then by plane for overseas. Among these sites, there are more than a hundred “pivot” hospitals, at least one per department, as well as six public health service provider platforms in France spread throughout the country. These 130 sites will then be responsible for distributing the doses to the nearest nursing homes to begin the first phase of French vaccination. But this is done with a significant time constraint, since the doses can only be stored for a maximum of five days between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius before being administered to patients.
A first phase which begins next week
It is at the end of the week, around December 26-27, that the very first vaccinations will begin in France and Europe, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. This phase should last in France until the end of February and aims to immunize one million residents and staff at risk in nursing homes.
In addition, the AEM is planning a meeting on January 12 to deliberate on the fate of the vaccine from the American biotech Moderna, which could thus become the second to be authorized in the EU.