Moderna vaccine distribution starts in the EU

Moderna vaccine distribution starts in the EU
Credit: Belga

Distribution of the first doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine in Europe started on Monday, Moderna said in a press release.

In the Netherlands, France and Germany, among others, the vaccine delivery has already started.

While the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) said that the first delivery for Belgium is planned for the end of January, the precise date is as of yet unknown.

The number of doses has also not been made official, although last week virologist Pierre Van Damme mentioned some 20,000 doses in the first delivery.

The Moderna vaccine is produced at two sites: in the US and at Lonza in Visp, Switzerland. The Swiss logistics group Kuehne+Nagel will handle the transport of the vaccine.

In Europe, the vaccines will be stored and centralised in one centre, but its exact location will not be disclosed.

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Transport is expected to be by road. Kuehne+Nagel has 200 special vehicles for the transport of pharmaceutical products. The Moderna vaccine has to be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, which is less complex than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has to be stored at -80 degrees.

Once thawed, Moderna vaccine will remain at the temperature of the refractor for an additional 30 days.

Last Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission gave the go-ahead for Moderna's vaccine. Besides Pfizer/BioNTech, it is the second vaccine that can be used in Europe against the coronavirus.

Europe has ordered 160 million doses from the US manufacturer, which will be distributed among the 27 EU countries. Belgium has ordered 2 million doses, which is far less than the number of vaccines ordered from Pfizer/BioNTech.

The Brussels Times

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