Since the beginning of September 2021, around 30% of the people dying of Covid-19 in Switzerland have been fully vaccinated. Vaccination against the disease in Switzerland started in December 2020 and some of those dying were among the first to be vaccinated.
A man interviewed by the Sonntagszeitung is convinced his mother, who was among the first to be vaccinated and recently died after catching the virus, would be alive today if she had received a third dose of vaccine, reported 20 Minutes.
On 26 October 2021, Swissmedic, Switzerland’s drug approval agency, authorised third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines. The agency recommends a third full dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and a half dose of the Moderna vaccine. The authorisation applies to people at especially high risk, which includes patients with weak immune system who are typically older or immunocompromised.
The latest study data indicate that an additional dose can increase the ability to form antibodies against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, particularly in patients with a weakened immune system, said the agency. Data from a clinical trial with participants who had undergone an organ transplant showed that the third dose improves the immune response compared to the control (placebo) group.
The booster shots are aimed at those over 75, rest home residents and people over 65 with serious preexisting illness, although Swissmedic has authorised boosters for anyone 12 or older at risk, said Christoph Berger, head of Switzerland’s federal vaccination commission. Vaccine protection can decline over time among these groups, but it remains high at around 80% among those over 80 who have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, said Berger. The booster is not recommended for everyone. The efficacy remains excellent for the general population, he said.
Boosters won’t extend Covid certificates
The duration of Covid certificates will not be extended by boosters, said Patrick Mathys, who is heading the management of the pandemic at the Federal Office of Public Health, while acknowledging that some certificates were set to expire in January 2022. There is a good chance that protection without a booster lasts longer that 12 months, he said.
Cantonal health authorities are expected to start providing boosters from mid-November.
Some expect boosters to be extended to more of the population. Jérôme Pugin, the head of intensive care at Geneva’s HUG hospital, told RTS that he expects everyone will have access to third doses of vaccine by winter.