On 19 December 2020, Swissmedic, Switzerland’s drug authorising agency, approved the first Covid-19 vaccination for the Swiss market.
The agency approved the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech for adults from age 16. The first doses of vaccine will be delivered to Switzerland in the next few days. The first delivery will comprise 100,000 doses, followed by larger deliveries. Switzerland’s federal government has order 3 million doses of the vaccine, which requires two doses around three weeks apart.
Once delivered Switzerland’s cantons will be able to start vaccinating in December 2020. From 4 January 2021 the vaccination of vulnerable groups and other priority groups will begin all over Switzerland, announced the government.
Swissmedic looked at data on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine and decided it is suitable without age restrictions for all adults from age 16.
Under the national vaccination strategy, priority will be given to vulnerable people at particularly high risk, including the elderly and people with underlying conditions.
Second priority will be given to healthcare personnel, third priority to people who live with vulnerable people and fourth priority to people in community facilities such as homes for the handicapped where there is an elevated risk of infection and outbreak, as well as the staff of such facilities.
All other adults can then be vaccinated once sufficient vaccine is available. Children, and pregnant women are not yet assigned to target groups under the vaccination strategy, as study data for these groups is not yet available.
Swiss Medic is also looking at further vaccines. The federal government has signed contracts for a total of around 15 million doses of vaccine. In addition to the 3 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, contracts have been signed for 4.5 million doses from Moderna and up to 5.3 million doses from AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine is unlikely to be available until the middle of next year, said the government.
There is no mandatory vaccination requirement in Switzerland and there will be no charge for the Covid-19 vaccination.