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Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland

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.

Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland
Photo: AFP

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.

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.

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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COVID-19

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?

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