Last November 10 Pfizer asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to emergency clearance of its vaccine against COVID-19, developed together with BioNTech. This decision was motivated by the high effectiveness who presented the drug, 90% first and a 95% In second instance. However, there are still too many issues surrounding its marketing or distribution. It is especially urgent to know when it will arrive.
César Hernández, head of the Human Use Department of the Spanish Medicines Agency and Spanish representative of the European commission that negotiates vaccines, assures that “The idea is that the vaccines are authorized at the end of December or the beginning of January” to start the vaccination campaign right after. “Perhaps what marks their use is that they are authorized to be used. The second part is that they have to be produced, but companies have started to produce them before to have doses”, He added in ‘Hora 25’, from Cadena SER.
Pfizer will take over the distribution
Not all the contracts that Europe has signed with the different pharmaceutical companies include the distribution of vaccines. “It is not the same as with regular medications. Keep in mind that all these contracts are made in a different context. They are not the same prices ”, has specified Hernández.
Pfizer, for example, is one of the companies that did promise to distribute its drug by creating some containers prepared to store it at the 80 degrees below zero required. However, the main problem will be storage: “Pfizer is going to distribute packages that allow a shelf life of up to 15 days plus another 5 days in a normal freezer. With frequent distribution dynamics it may be possible that logistically it is not so complicated. They can be kept for five days at a temperature that allows them to remain stable ”. “The vials are being removed. How many vaccinations are going to be given is calculated. Those same containers can last several days ”, adds the expert.
Specifically, Hernández explains that each vial has five doses, “Y is the one to be used in the next 6 hours. The rest, kept in the fridge, can last 5 days ”. Thus, he stressed that it is not necessary to remove all the vials at once, but that they can be removed in parts. “1,000 are not defrosted at the same time. They are to vaccinate five people ”, he concludes.
It is not more complicated to vaccinate against COVID-19
The head of the Department of Human Use of the Spanish Medicines Agency assures that the logistics of the COVID-19 vaccine are no more complex than the flu vaccine: “In the case of protein-based vaccines they are very similar to the flu.”
Regarding the vaccination plan, he has indicated that they intend “Vaccinate a huge number of people in a year” to get the desired one as soon as possible group immunity: “The will is to reach a greater number of people than the flu campaigns.” To do this, it proposes “vaccinate a whole promotion if really these vaccines allow to vaccinate children and demonstrate that they are effective in all the population ranges. Between 60% or 70% of the population would already generate herd immunity ”.
However, it acknowledges that “we will not all be safe until we are vaccinated. Vaccine availability will increase throughout the year ”. “Nor do we know if all the vaccines under study are going to have an authorization and are going to be safe and effective,” he says.