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EAHP news
EAHP opinion on COVID-19 vaccine programmes and their implementation
  1. Stephanie Kohl
  1. Policy & Advocacy, European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Ms Stephanie Kohl, Policy & Advocacy, European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, Brussels, Belgium; Stephanie.Kohl{at}

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is interacting with developers of potential COVID-19 vaccines to enable promising medicines to reach patients, healthcare workers and the population as soon as possible. A conditional marketing authorisation for the first vaccine was issued and vaccination programmes are expected to start across the EU by the end of 2020. With the approval of a vaccine, the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed to healthcare professionals all across Europe for the past year are however not over yet. Mass vaccinations which need to be carried out to decrease the impact that the virus has on Europe will confront health systems and healthcare professionals with new challenges. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) would like to draw attention to the challenges that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and their administration will present, even more, when more vaccines become available.

The transport and storage conditions of the different vaccines in the development pipeline differ greatly with some requiring low temperatures between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius while others need to be kept at minus 20 or even minus 70 degrees Celsius. Not all hospital pharmacies, especially those operating in small hospitals, are equipped with cooling facilities that can meet the conditions needed for some of the vaccines in development. But even those that have these facilities might not be able to cope with the storage quantities needed to support mass vaccination of the population against COVID-19. For EAHP and its members, it is consequently of uttermost importance that national vaccination programmes take into account the local storage conditions to ensure a smooth roll-out of the vaccination activities across the healthcare sector. These considerations should not only focus on the transport of the vaccines and the storage facilities in hospitals and hospital pharmacies but also look at …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.