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COVID-19

Switzerland to start Covid vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds

Covid vaccinations can now be carried out for people as young as 12 in Switzerland after the government fast-tracked approval.

Switzerland to start Covid vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds
Teenagers can now get Covid vaccines in Switzerland.Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP

On Wednesday, June 23rd, the Swiss government approved vaccinations of people as young as 12 against coronavirus. 

The government had previously indicated vaccinations in that age group would start in mid-July, the government decided to fast-track the approval.

It is now effective immediately, although the precise date of implementation will be up to the cantons. 

Immunising teenagers is considered to be essential to Switzerland’s hopes of herd immunity. 

Are children at risk of Covid?

While noting that “children and young people are at low risk of developing a severe form of the disease”, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is nevertheless recommending that people in this age group get immunised.

This is addressed particularly to young people who suffer from serious chronic illnesses, as well as those who live with people who have a weak immune response due to health conditions.

The 12 to 15-year-olds will receive a Pfizer / Biontech vaccine, the only one approved to date by regulatory body, Swissmedic, for this age group.

“In clinical trials, this product has achieved almost 100-percent effectiveness in this age group”, FOPH said.

Moderna, the other vaccine used in Switzerland, has also submitted a request to Swissmedic for the authorisation of its vaccine for people aged 12 to 17.

“As soon as there is sufficient evidence that the safety, efficacy and quality of the COVID-19 vaccine in this age group are adequate, Swissmedic will swiftly decide on the indication extension”, the agency said.

Young people will receive the same vaccine dose as adults, also spaced from four to six weeks apart.

Side effects are also expected to be the same, which are mostly minor, according to FOPH: they include pain at injection site pain, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle or joint pain, or fever. Side effects normally last between one and three days and may be more pronounced after the second dose, FOPH said.

Some cantons have already opened vaccination to this age group, while others are expected to do so in July.

No parental permission is required for the appointment, with children as young as 12 able to get vaccinated without their parents consent provided they understand the procedure. 

More information about vaccines for teenagers in Switzerland is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Covid vaccines for under 18s in Switzerland

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Switzerland authorises Moderna vaccine for children over six

Children between the ages of six and 11 will now be able to get a Moderna shot, Swiss health authority said.

Switzerland authorises Moderna vaccine for children over six

Until now only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved in Switzerland for this group, starting at age five.

However, on Friday the country’s drug regulatory body, Swissmedic, gave the green light to start administering Moderna’s vaccine to children over six, who will receive two half doses of 50 micrograms at an interval of four weeks.

Those over 12 and adults are injected the full dose.

The agency said that based on clinical studies, young kids react to the Moderna vaccine much like older children and adults do.

“The most commonly reported side effects such as pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, shivering or nausea, were similar to those in adolescents and young adults”. Swissmedic said.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Covid vaccines for children in Switzerland

Also, “fever occurred more frequently in children, whereas muscle and joint pains were seen less often than in adolescents or adults. The undesirable effects were generally mild to moderate and lasted for a few days”.

While some parents may be reluctant to vaccinate their children against the coronavirus, health officials say the vaccines are safe. They also argue that in order to achieve herd immunity, all age groups should have their shots.

While the number of Covid infections has dropped significantly in Switzerland in the past two months, epidemiologists are predicting a new outbreak in the fall and winter, when cooler weather drives more people indoors, where the yet-unknown variants will be more transmissible.

READ MORE: How can I get my children vaccinated against Covid in Switzerland?

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