Norwegian pharmacists are concerned about the handling of corona vaccines

Pfizer logoPhoto: AP Photo / Mark Lennihan / File
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The Norwegian Pharmaceutical Association questions whether the municipalities are prepared to handle coronavirus vaccines at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees.

At present, however, the Association does not know which vaccines will come to the Norwegian market.

The Association is concerned about whether the municipalities have received enough information and whether they will be ready to store and handle the COVID-19 vaccines when the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) sends them out.

“We see major challenges regarding the storage conditions of several current vaccine candidates, and we ask if the municipalities are ready,” Rønnaug Larsen, who heads the Association, noted.

Storage challenges

Among other things, she wondered whether the municipalities are aware that one of the most relevant vaccine candidates, from Pfizer / BioNTech, must be stored at minus 70 degrees. 

Furthermore, it can only last for around five days in the refrigerator. 

Another current vaccine candidate, Moderna, must be stored at minus 20 degrees. It lasts for about seven days in the refrigerator.

Specific routines

“Handling regular vaccines in itself requires good routines, but handling vaccines with cold storage conditions will require thorough preparations and extra comprehensive routines for handling the vaccines, including good procedures for thawing and possible destruction of unused thawed vaccines,” Larsen said.

She pointed out that storage at minus 70 degrees is not common and that very few places have the necessary equipment.

She thinks FHI has provided too little information about the requirements related to the storage of vaccines and wants to make the municipalities aware of its challenges.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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