Monaco to boost arsenal with AstraZeneca vaccine

The Principality will have its vaccine stocks replenished by the end of the week, the health minister has revealed, with the arrival of thousands more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, as well as the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of March.
Pfizer-BioNTech is currently the only vaccine available in Monaco and stocks are limited, as they are in France. However, Health Minister Didier Gamerdinger told local daily Monaco Matin on Wednesday that 5,000 additional doses are due by the end of the week.
He also revealed that 15,600 pre-ordered doses “should arrive soon”, including 7,200 AstraZeneca vaccines at the end of March. The rest will be made up of Pfizer and “another vaccine whose type and number are yet to be determined”.
In addition, Monaco is expecting 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, however manufacturer supply continues to be a problem.
“They are not able to provide us with the number of doses according to the schedule that were initially promised,” said the minister.
This partly explains why only 624 people received their first Covid jab in the two weeks between 18th February and 4th March, while the vaccination centre at the Grimaldi Forum is capable of accommodating 600 patients per day.
More so, only 22% of the population have received their first shot because the Principality is aiming to fully vaccinate its fragile population and health care workers first, and that involves two doses each patient.
“Some countries have given the first injection and wait five, six, or even seven weeks for the second,” said Mr Gamerdinger. “The Pfizer package leaflet states that it should be administered after three weeks.”
To date, around 8,500 people have been vaccinated in Monaco, while more than 7,300 of those have received both injections.
The extra 5,000 vaccines received this week will therefore protect 2,500 people in Monaco.
Around 80% of doctors at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre have been vaccinated, as well as just under half of all hospital staff, while 60% of all other doctors and nurses in the Principality have been inoculated against Covid-19.
Currently, Monaco is offering free vaccinations to all residents and citizens over the age of 65, as well as those who are over the age of 18 and suffering from serious health issues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Next in line for the voluntary Covid shot is the 60 to 64 age group. Didier Gamerdinger was unable to pinpoint exactly when that campaign will begin, however he did say that it will be “soon” and that it depends on vaccine supply.
When residents and citizens have been vaccinated, workers in Monaco will then have access to the shot.
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Photo by Michael Alesi, Government Communication Department