A dose of Pfizer vaccine, illustration – Esteban Felix / AP / SIPA
The first doses of the vaccine against the Covid-19 developed by the American Pfizer and the German BioNTech were sent this Saturday morning shortly before 7 a.m. to the central pharmacy of the Hospitals of Paris, in the Paris suburbs.
Vaccination will begin Sunday in France, where more than 62,000 people have died after being infected with the coronavirus, as throughout the European Union. The first injections will take place in two establishments for the elderly, in Sevran (Seine-Saint-Denis) and Dijon.
The first nursing homes concerned
Some 19,500 doses of the vaccine contained in 3,900 vials, according to the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), were transported aboard a refrigerated truck which made the trip from the Pfizer plant in Puurs, in north-eastern Belgium. Other French sites were to be delivered during the day, in the Lyon region, in Lille and Tours.
“It’s historic, these are the very first doses”, rejoiced the head of the hospital pharmacy pole of the Hospitals of Paris, Franck Huet. “A vaccine delivery schedule will be determined each previous weekend to avoid losses,” he explained to the cameras. “It’s a moving moment,” said Anne Darchy, pharmacist on duty.
This vaccine, called Comirnaty, requires very specific logistics since it must be stored at -80 ° C. It can then be stored at 2 to 8 ° C for a maximum of five days. At the central pharmacy of the AP-HP, the product was repackaged this Saturday morning before its re-shipment to the long-term care unit of the René-Muret hospital in Sevran and the Champmaillot geriatric center at the Dijon University Hospital. Six bottles will be delivered in Burgundy, three in Seine-Saint-Denis, according to the AP-HP.
The real start of the vaccination campaign next year
The arrival in the EU of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was validated on Monday by the European Medicines Agency. The French green light was then issued Thursday by the High Authority for Health (HAS). The launch of the vaccination campaign is eagerly awaited, while a first case of contamination by the Covid-19 variant that appeared in the United Kingdom was detected in France, in Tours, in a Frenchman usually residing in Great Britain.
The campaign for the 7,000 nursing homes in France and other establishments for the elderly, their residents and their caregivers likely to develop serious forms of Covid will not really start on a large scale until the beginning of 2021. Around a million people will be offered the Comirnaty during this first stage of the French vaccination campaign, which should be spread over January and February.
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