Switzerland reveals its Covid-19 vaccination strategy
Switzerland is getting ready to vaccinate against coronavirus at the end of January, and this is what the process will look like.
Switzerland's official vaccination plan, published by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Thursday, outlines who will be prioritised for the first shots, and who will have to wait.
The list is broken into five groups.
At the head of the line are the so-called ‘vulnerable’ people, a category that includes the elderly and those who are at especially high risk of Covid-related complications.
They are usually individuals with serious chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disease and high blood pressure.
The second group to be vaccinated are health care workers who are in daily contact with patients, and those who take care of ‘vulnerable’ people — for instance, employees of elderly care homes.
Next will be people living in the same household as at-risk individuals.
The fourth group will consist of those residing or working in community institutions that present a heightened risk of infection or potential for an outbreak, like institutions for people with disabilities.
The last group will be members of general public who want to be vaccinated.
Authorities also reiterated their earlier statement that vaccination will not be made compulsory and will be free of charge to anyone who wants it.
Health officials already said that Switzerland plans to vaccinate 70,000 people daily, with the ultimate goal to vaccinate 6 million residents — out of Switzerland’s total population of 8.5 million — until July.
Launching a vaccination programme “is extremely complicated logistically”, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said.
This is due to the infrastructure that must be set up to store, distribute, and administer the vaccines.
Deliveries will be done in stages, subject to their final approval by Swissmedic, the supervisory authority for therapeutic products.
The army will then store the vaccines in secure, top-secret places, and then deliver the doses to the cantons.
If necessary, the military will also provide ice to safely store the doses, as most locations don't have specialised freezers needed to keep the highly perishable vaccines at extremely low temperatures.
Switzerland purchased 13 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from three manufacturers: Moderna (4.5 million doses), AstraZeneca (5.3 million) and Pfizer (3 million ).
The final approval of the vaccines by Swissmedic is expected at the end of December.