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Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland

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Daniel Wighton - [email protected]
Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland
(FILES) This file photo taken on November 17, 2020 in London shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. - The European Medicines Agency said on March 9, 2021 that it is set to decide whether to authorise Johnson & Johnson's Janssen single-shot coronavirus vaccine for the EU on March 11. If approved by the Amsterdam-based regulator, the vaccine would be the fourth to get the green light for the 27-nation bloc, in a boost for its slow-starting vaccination programme. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Johnson and Johnson have denied claims by Swiss public broadcaster SRF that the company's Janssen Vaccine would be available to private companies in Switzerland.

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The Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen, produced by American pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson, was approved by Swissmedic on Monday March 22nd.

However, as the government has declined to purchase the vaccine to incorporate it into its vaccine scheme, it is not expected to be publicly available.

On Tuesday, Switzerland's public broadcaster SRF claimed the vaccine would however be available for private companies to vaccinate their employees.

Johnson and Johnson have denied this, saying their vaccine will not be made available to private entities. 

Here’s what you need to know.

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Switzerland approves Johnson and Johnson - but will not purchase any doses

On Monday, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic, gave provisional approval for the vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson (Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen).

This made it the third vaccine to be approved in Switzerland after the jabs from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech. Unfortunately however, this does not mean the vaccine will be available to the Swiss public anytime soon.

While Swissmedic has approved the vaccine for use in Switzerland, the Swiss government is yet to sign a vaccine supply contract with the manufacturer.

As The Local Switzerland reported yesterday, this is primarily because it would only be delivered in the summer “and that is too late for us”, said Nora Kronig, vice president of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s approval of the Johnson and Johnson jab will not speed up vaccinations

FOPH had previously announced the country aims to inoculate “everyone who wants it” by summer.

Kronig also said Switzerland is focusing on Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna vaccines which use the so-called mRNA technology, “which is more effective, especially for vulnerable people”.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology.

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Does this mean no Johnson and Johnson in Switzerland?

In a report on March 23rd Swiss public broadcaster SRF claimed any private entity wanting to import the vaccine can do so. 

"This means that a company in Switzerland, for example, can now buy this vaccine and have its staff vaccinated," the media site claimed.

"At your own expense, but quickly and without any bureaucratic hurdles from the canton and federal government.”

However, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Thomas Moser, the Head of External Communications with Johnson and Johnson in Switzerland, told The Local Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon that the report was "incorrect" and as yet the vaccine would not be available to private entities. 

"In the current situation, J&J works exclusively with national and supranational authorities as well as international organisations such as COVAX to make our vaccine available," he said, 

"This means that even with Swissmedic approval, direct orders will not be possible for the time being."

As at Tuesday afternoon, the SRF report remained unchanged

Note: This article was changed on Tuesday afternoon to reflect the clarifications made by Johnson and Johnson directly to The Local Switzerland. 

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