Roll up your sleeves: This route took your vaccine

Roll up your sleeves: This route took your vaccine

Northern Netherlands – After hospital staff in acute care managed to get their first injection in recent weeks, the day started with the rest of the care staff. crew From today, nursing homes, home care and care for the disabled can visit five sites in the north of the Netherlands by scheduling their first vaccination. NH Nieuws has investigated the path your vaccine took, from the factory to the injection site.

AdobeStock / Mike Marin

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved two vaccines so far. Those who will be vaccinated in the coming weeks will receive either the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines are American pharmaceuticals, although they are not exclusively produced in the United States. The third vaccine, which EMA is currently considering, is the vaccine for the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.

First of all, the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine: On its website, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer reports that 1.3 billion vaccines will be delivered worldwide this year They are produced in two locations. One of these sites is Kalamazoo in the US state of Michigan, and the other plant is located in Burs, Belgium, about 20 kilometers south of Antwerp, along the A12 road towards Brussels.

Puurs (B) to Oss (NB)

Although the Pfizer vaccine reaches many countries by air, there is no need to use aircraft for the Dutch vaccines. The vaccine is transported in bulk by Pfizer from Borse by road to Movianto at Oss.

This is not done in simple cardboard boxes, but in boxes filled with dry ice. This dry ice aims to ensure that the pollen also maintains a temperature of around -70 ° C while on the road, because for the time being, the effect can only be guaranteed at the extremely low temperature.

The US pharmaceutical company is currently looking into the possibility of storing the vaccine as well at fridge temperature Reported by Flemish broadcaster VRT yesterday. If so, it would have major advantages in transportation, storage, and ultimately for the pollination campaign.

Once at Oss – a 150-kilometer journey and over two hours – the vaccine is packed by Movianto and stored in cryogenic cells until it is ready for transportation to the end user. In recent weeks, these were mainly hospitals vaccinating their staff in acute care, but in recent days GGDs have also been provided with the first supplies.

Choose Movianto

RIVM and the Department of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) have chosen to use Movianto because this company has extensive experience in the logistics of vaccination programs, including the annual flu shot.

The first boxes of Pfizer vaccine ampoules have now been brought to 25 GGD districts. Once they reach the GGDs, they no longer turn into ice and icebergs, but in Special refrigerators Reserved, which means it is meant to be effective for a limited period of time. “We keep them at 5 degrees,” says Harry Catstra of GGD Hollands Noorden. Then it can be kept for 4 to 5 days.

Due to the limited shelf life of the vaccine, it is provided in phases. Of course, the maximum capacity of the pollination street is also taken into account on handover, although the street in Alkmaar is currently only running at half the speed, says Catstra.

“We have eight vaccination lines where a person can be vaccinated every five minutes between 8:00 and 17:00,” says Catstra. A quick calculation shows that in theory 768 people could be vaccinated per day (8 x 12 x 8 ed), but it certainly wouldn’t go that fast at first. With half of the eight vaccination lines open as of today, approximately 384 people will receive a maximum of daily injections at this time.

The fact that only half of the grafting lines in Alkmaar have been opened has to do with rarity. According to the EU distribution switch, the Netherlands will be in the first quarter of this year 2.5 million doses. But since everyone should be vaccinated a second time within three weeks after the first Pfizer vaccination, that amount is sufficient for the 1.25 million Dutch.

Additionally, Pfizer simply needs more time to produce vaccines for all European citizens. “We have enough staff and capacity,” says Catstra. “So we can expand quickly if needed.”

Schedule of vaccination

The ministry’s immunization schedule (see below) shows which groups will be vaccinated this quarter. 30,000 to 40,000 employees have now been vaccinated in acute care. As of today, a total of 273,000 employees will be covered in nursing homes and small residences.

According to the schedule, employees who take care of the disabled and home care – about 462,000 in total – can get their first injection of GGD from the start of February. A large percentage of them will not receive the Pfizer vaccine, but the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected. This is also expected to apply to nursing home employees who will be vaccinated for the first time in February.

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Department of VWS

To reduce bureaucracy and transportation, AstraZeneca vaccines are produced in more than a dozen sites around the world, according to the company. Its website. This includes India and England, but also the Netherlands. At the beginning of December, the pharmaceutical company announced that it had signed a contract with it Biotechnology company Halix BV from Leiden. This makes the AstraZeneca vaccine – if approved later – possibly the most sustainable vaccine for the Dutch.

According to the ministry’s immunization schedule, GGDs will also introduce the Moderna vaccine at the end of February. “Mobile home residents over the age of 60” are expected to be eligible, although they can also receive the Pfizer / Biontech or AstraZeneca vaccine.


Moderna vaccine is now available in the Netherlands, although it has had to last a little longer than Pfizer’s vaccine. Moderna vaccines for the Netherlands (and a large part of the vaccines for the rest of the world) are not made in Belgium, but in Switzerland. Moderna also makes the same vaccines, but mostly uses them for the Lonza group. This company can produce 800,000 doses of vaccine per day at its plant (see photo below) in Visp, but it is also manufactured in the US state of New Hampshire.

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Lonza Factory, Moderna Vaccine Factory in Visp, Switzerland – Lonza Ltd.

Once our modern vaccines are ready, carrier Kuehne + Nagel will store and transport them. The big difference with the Pfizer vaccine is that Moderna vaccine should not be stored at -70 ° C, but “only” at -20 ° C. The transportation company alone says it has about two hundred pharmaceutical trucks that can keep the vaccines at the right temperature. So these trucks are also heading to Movianto in Oss, where vaccines are getting vaccinated Are saved.

As mentioned, Movianto distributes vaccines between GGD regions. In the north of the Netherlands there are five regions: Hollande-Norden, Amsterdam, Kinmerland, Saanstrek Waterland and Joy in Westerich. Amsterdam actually started vaccinating earlier this week. It’s happening in Al-Rai, where Dickie, who worked in the nursing home, last week The first was.

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Dickie is the first employee of a nursing home who has been vaccinated – NH Nieuws

Where the GGD district of Amsterdam has designated the Rai Convention Center as the site for vaccination, for GGD Hollands Noorden, this is a 150 square meter tent on the site of a festival at Olympiaweg.

In the Zaanstreek-Waterland region it was chosen De Beuk Gym in BurmereindPavilion in Gooi and Vecht The Royal Visio website in HuizenAnd in Kennemerland XL test booth in the P4 car park in Schiphol.


Speaking of Schiphol, our airport hardly plays a role in distributing vaccines to the Netherlands. The vaccines that we’ll all be injecting in the coming months will come by road – via Oss – to North Holland.

Globally, KLM plays an important role in vaccine deployment. KLM Cargo is interested in transporting the vaccine, for example, from Asia to South America, or from Asia to Africa, the company tells NH Nieuws. A spokesman said: “KLM may still transfer the vaccines to the Netherlands, but not yet.” But we are ready for that. ”

Eight thousand Boeing 747 cargo aircraft

The amount of vaccines that will be airlifted around the world in the near future is however huge. Schiphol said in a statement, “The IATA (International Air Transport Association) has calculated that distributing a single dose of vaccine to 7.8 billion citizens of the world will require 8,000 747 cargo planes.” Press release.

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