Switzerland secures early access to Covid-19 vaccine

The American company Moderna, which is developing the vaccine, will deliver 4.5 million doses to Switzerland, health officials announced on Friday.

Switzerland secures early access to Covid-19 vaccine
Switzerland ordered 4.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Photo By AFP

“The government wants to ensure that the Swiss population has rapid access to a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine”, the Federal Office of Public (FOPH) said on its website. 

FOPH added that if the vaccine passes the test phase successfully and is authorised in Switzerland, the government will receive 4.5 million doses.

Since two doses of the vaccine will be needed, this means 2.25 million people, about a fourth of the country’s population, can be vaccinated against Covid-19 — the only known strategy so far to build the immunity to the disease. 

Referring to the vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday against “vaccine nationalism,” saying vaccine-hogging richer countries would not be safe coronavirus havens if poor nations remained exposed.

“For the world to recover faster, it has to recover together, because it's a globalised world: the economies are intertwined”, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“The damage from COVID-19 could be less when those countries who… have the funding commit to this”, he added.

READ MORE: WHO warns of Europe virus spike as countries impose new curbs 





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Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs.