Barely launched, the vaccination centers in Brittany are crumbling under demands. So that all are sold out until February 14. And the local elected representatives to step up to the niche to ask for more serum.
Sending doses to each vaccination center actually depends on a clever distribution orchestrated by the Regional Health Agency (ARS). Local distribution which itself results from the number of doses available at the department level. Which, itself, results from arrivals across the country. In short, a very complex logistics machine.
Every week, France receives 500,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer. A vial comprising five doses, this represents in practice 100,000 vials that must be distributed equitably among the 18 regions of the territory (1). To perform this mesh, two circuits exist.
Two distribution channels
The first is organized by six logistics platforms installed in France, under the aegis of Public Health France. They are responsible for supplying the nursing homes, as needed. They have 65% of the doses.
The second circuit involves 100 hospitals, one per department, equipped with a super-freezer. In the region they are located in Vannes, Rennes, Brest and Saint-Brieuc. Their mission is to keep the doses available for nursing homes backed by a hospital and town vaccination centers between -80 and -70 degrees, while waiting for a distribution plan to be established.
The ARS then enters the loop. It is she who is responsible by the State to implement, at the local level, the distribution of vaccines. Clearly, to decide which centers will be entitled to these doses and in what proportions.
Proportion of the elderly
On this point, the four Breton departments do not have the same number of vials at the start, without it being possible to have figures. “The choice that was made is to distribute the doses according to the proportion of people over 75 in each of the departments”, explains to Telegram Stéphane Mulliez, the director of ARS Bretagne.
In other words, the more a department has elderly people – i.e. the priority population for the vaccine -, the more likely he is to receive more doses. Thus, nursing homes in Finistère and Ille-et-Vilaine will initially be able to benefit from more serum than establishments in Morbihan and Côtes-d’Armor, because the elderly population is the most numerous. “This will cause some disparities but they will smooth out [avec le temps, ndlr] », Reassures the DG of the ARS.
Blur on the distribution in city centers
Regarding the distribution of doses between vaccination centers in the same department, it is much more vague. It is impossible to know precisely on which rule one center can benefit from more doses than another. ARS Bretagne only tells us that “it is based on available doses and local needs”. At the Brest centers, we therefore receive every week enough to vaccinate 190 patients per day, against 40 at the Saint-Renan center.
Tuesday, Olivier Véran promised to publish “in full transparency” the precise number of doses that each vaccination center has each week. A request made to him by Emmanuel Macron, he said.
Moderna is coming soon
According to ARS forecasts, Brittany will therefore have received 90,000 doses of vaccine by the end of January. Enough to administer the serum to 20% of the 425,000 Bretons affected by this first wave of vaccination. “All this requires the patience of our fellow citizens”, concedes Stéphane Mulliez.
For the future, the agency intends to rely on the Moderna, already available in France but reserved for the regions most affected by the epidemic. Doses which should arrive in Brittany “during February”. They will be distributed through a new logistics circuit, “being defined”, assures the Ministry of Health.
(1) According to the recommendations of the European health authorities, six doses can be extracted from each vial.