FOR MEMBERS

Swiss health experts recommend delaying second dose to speed up vaccination campaign

Swiss health experts recommend delaying second dose to speed up vaccination campaign
Second doses may be delayed to accelerate vaccinations. Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP
People in Switzerland receive the second shot of Covid vaccine about a month after the first. But the country's Covid-19 Task Force now suggests postponing it by two weeks.

The reason for the recommendation is to speed up the inoculations.

If the second dose is injected six weeks after the first instead of the usual four, the vaccination campaign will be faster, the Covid-19 Task Force said on Tuesday.

With an interval of six weeks and as few doses in stock as possible, half of the population could get at least one shot — and some degree of protection against the coronavirus —  several weeks earlier.  

The Task Force also stressed that while the interval between the two doses is stretched out,  cantons should use up their vaccine reserves to immunise as many people as possible.

Federal authorities have already told cantons to dip into their “second dose” reserves to speed up the pace of inoculations. 

The second shot would be guaranteed thanks to the 8 million doses of the Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna vaccines that are expected to arrive in Switzerland between now and the end of July.

READ MORE: Switzerland tells cantons to use up their vaccine reserves

But would delaying the second dose beyond the recommended timeframe make vaccines less effective?

Health officials say it would not, with other countries also delaying the second shot as a matter of policy. 

A similar situation occurred in February in Vaud: the canton had to postpone the second shot from four to six weeks because it did not receive enough doses.

“This does not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine, nor its safety. On the contrary: prolonging the interval between the two doses can only improve the immune response,” the canton said. 

To date, no decision to change the timing of second doses has been made.


Member comments

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.

  1. Instead of just delaying the second dose, how about also vaccinating people late at night and also on the weekends which is what every other developed country in the world does in order to protect its people? We are in a pandemic and it is not business as usual but yet the government and the cantons are treating the vaccination as if we are getting vaccinated for the common flu. It is also ridiculous that one of the richest and smallest countries in the world to be so far behind in its vaccination program. How did Switzerland not secure more doses at risk when the pandemic started similar to UK, Israel, UAE?

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.