for vaccination in pharmacies, a rather satisfactory progress report

A pharmacist administers a dose of Imvanex vaccine against monkeypox, in a pharmacy in Lille, on August 10, 2022.

Will pharmacies be useful for vaccinating against the Monkeypox virus (“monkey pox”)? Thursday, August 18, the Ministry of Health brought together the actors involved in an experiment to assess this question, launched a week earlier. The challenge: to accelerate the pace of injections, still too slow in the eyes of patient associations.

Five pharmacies were selected for this test, two in Paris, one in Marseille, one in Fréjus (Var), and one in Lille. On Thursday, a progress report on this experience was therefore drawn up by the ministry, with the regional health agencies (ARS), health agencies, pharmacists, patient associations and doctors.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Monkey pox: vaccination in pharmacies, in experimentation, object of “strong expectation” among target audiences

“On average, these pharmacies vaccinated thirty people a day”, says Philippe Besset, president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France, who participated in the meeting. That is, for the five pharmacies, a vaccination capacity of approximately 750 people per week. The qualitative assessment, then. “According to the ARS and the pharmacists, the patients were very satisfied”, continues Mr. Besset. In the south, it was mostly vacationers; in Paris, as in Lille, natives. In the capital of Hauts-de-France, however, a third to a quarter of vaccinated patients came from Belgium.

“Patients were demanding, relieved and grateful. At the hospital, they were only offered a slot in September ”, testifies Khansaa Belkasseh-Pilard, assistant pharmacist in the pharmacy of Saint-Maur Oberkampf, in Paris, where all the slots were stormed. For their part, pharmacists enjoyed this experience very much. “but it was much more time-consuming than expected”, says Philippe Besset. It is because they also invested themselves, on this occasion, in informing patients about prevention and sexual health.

real challenge

By August 25, the ARS, pharmacists and patient associations will have to work on another subject: identifying the places where the offer of vaccination is insufficient. Could new pharmacies be authorized there to vaccinate?

The supply chain is a real challenge. “Because vaccine stocks must be stored at −80°C, only central hospital pharmacies can now deliver to pharmaciesexplains Philippe Besset. It’s very artisanal. » Unless it is shown that the doses can be stored at −30°C, this risks limiting the ability of pharmacies to vaccinate. “We may be able to multiply their number by ten. But beyond? »

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