On 12 January 2021, Swissmedic, the Swiss agency for the authorisation and supervision of pharmaceutical products, approved a second vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus for the Swiss market.
The vaccine from Moderna, of which the federal government has ordered around 7.5 million doses, has been approved for adults from age 18.
Over the coming days a delivery of 200,000 doses will be made to Switzerland’s military, which will distribute the vaccine to the cantons.
Together with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved by Swissmedic on 19 December 2020, around half a million doses of vaccine will be made available in Switzerland in January. Both of these vaccines require two doses.
Swissmedic has authorised the Moderna vaccine for use on all those aged 18 and over.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines use mRNA, a messenger molecule that carries the instructions for building specific proteins. The body recognises these proteins as foreign and produces an immune response against them. This immune response then helps protect the individual against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The availability of vaccine in Switzerland will increase in the next few months, said the government. By summer everyone who wishes to be vaccinated should be able to do so, it estimates.
Switzerland’s federal government has procured more than 15 million doses of vaccine from three vaccine manufacturers: Moderna (7.5 million doses), Pfizer/BioNTech (3 million doses) and AstraZeneca (5.3 million doses). The vaccine from AstraZeneca is still in the approval process. The government is also in discussion with other vaccine manufacturers.
Under Switzerland’s vaccination strategy, first priority is given to vulnerable people, which includes elderly people and people with underlying conditions. Second priority will be given to healthcare personnel, and third priority to people who live with vulnerable people. Fourth priority will then be people and staff in communal facilities such as homes for the handicapped where there is an elevated risk of infection. All other adults will then be able to get vaccinated. Children and pregnant women are not included in the vaccination strategy as study data for these groups is not yet available.
In Switzerland vaccination is free of charge for the population and is not compulsory.