This is not new: Moderna vaccine can be stored up to 30 days in a refrigerator between 2°C (35.6°F) and 8°C (46.4°F) and for several months at -20°C (-4°F). This storage temperature is less onerous than Pfizer that has to be stored between -25°C (-13°F) and -15°C (4.99°F). When the vaccination campaign has been launched in December, the temperature contrainsts were even more radical, Pfizer vaccine was to be stored at -80°C (-112°F), remember.
But as the logistic machine was on, the government decided to transfer doses of vaccines to vaccination centers fitted with freezers; it involved major organization for the French who have to travel for kilometers to get vaccinated. Some of them even gave up because they thought getting an appointement in a vaccination center was too difficult.
On a logistics level, this solution was relevant when there were not many doses, but now, with 20 million French vaccinated, the government eventually takes the time to set up a long-term solution, calling in pharmacies and GPs. Therefore, starting from early May, 600 doses of Moderna vaccine have been made available to pharmacists and GPs in Moselle, a department set Eastern France, massively hit by the third epidemic wave to check the logistics and see if the vaccine remains stable after transport and distribution.
According to pharmacists, the test is more than conclusive: the French answered the call and all doses have been used. Olivier Véran has recently announced that all pharmacists and doctors can order Moderna's vaccine from May 17 for their clients. They can start vaccinate their patients from Thursday May 27 with Moderna.
The government chose to deliver 300,000 doses of vaccine to pharmacists and doctors. Caregivers regret this delivery be so limited: doctors can only order one vial and pharmacists two. Moderna holds ten doses per vial, GPs can only perform ten injections per week. "Doses we can order from now are very limited" Doctor Jacques Battistoni - head of the MG France GP trade union - said this past May 17 on France Info.
This first step being a success, the government then allowed occupational health doctors to order and give Moderna vaccine doses to their patients. This Wednesday June 9, the French Department of Labor stated occupational health units can - starting from the week of June 14-20 - order Moderna vaccine doses using a specific website on the Health Ministry website.
As for vaccinating employees, the government gave 100,000 doses - namely 100 doses per occupational health doctor. Elisabeth Borne expressed how happy she was to AFP journalists saying "pilote company employees enjoyed being able to get vaccinated in their business environment and enjoy an easy access to vaccine. This is why we move to this new step."