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COVID-19 VACCINES

Which Swiss cantons are already offering Covid booster shots?

Several Swiss cantons have already rolled out a third Covid ‘booster shot’ for people who are fully vaccinated. Are they being offered in your canton?

Which Swiss cantons are already offering Covid booster shots?
Several Swiss cantons are offering Covid booster shots. Photo: VALENTIN FLAURAUD / AFP

As at mid-August, federal authorities in Switzerland are working out a plan to administer booster shots for Covid-19. 

While the details are still being determined, these can expected to be rolled out in October, targeting high-risk individuals and older people. 

UPDATED: How can I get my Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

At the cantonal level however, the rollout has already begun, with close to ten cantons already administering booster shots. 

These shots are as yet not available to the entire public, but are targeted at people with weaker immune systems and a particular need for additional protection. 

Which cantons are administering booster shots in Switzerland?  

As it stands, information on booster shots is known only by the cantons and has not been shared with federal authorities. 

The canton of Basel-City already started administering booster shots to residents with a particularly weak immune systems on August 6th.

Since then, several other cantons have followed, including Bern, Zurich, Solothurn, Zug, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Aargau.

Blick said the majority of cantons that were asked were already administering booster shots, although the newspaper did not indicate which cantons had been asked – and which had not. 

Therefore, even if your canton is not on the list, there is a chance Covid booster shots are already being offered for people with compromised immune systems. 

UPDATE: Switzerland planning for Covid booster shots in winter

Bern has started Covid booster shots, confirming to Swiss tabloid Blick that several have been administered already. 

Like in Basel, these booster shots have been targeted at people in high-risk categories. 

“The purpose of a third vaccination is to build up good vaccination protection in immunocompromised patients” a spokesperson told Blick. 

Zurich has already vaccinated 40 people a third time, Blick reports, with those who have a “severe lack of immunity” targeted. 

“The purpose of a third vaccination is to build up good vaccination protection for weakened patients,” said Jan Fehr, infectious agent and professor at the University of Zurich.

“Such third vaccinations for immunocompromised people are not a booster, but a completion of the basic vaccination.”

When will the general public get a booster shot in Switzerland? 

 While concrete plans are not yet in place, it looks likely that booster shots will be made available in late autumn. 

As The Local reported, government said that “in order to ensure sufficient protection in the longer term, booster vaccinations for certain population groups or those already vaccinated will probably be necessary from next winter at the earliest.”

The federal government has instructed the responsible authorities to work with the cantons to ensure the infrastructure remains in place to administer booster shots, most likely early in 2022. 

However, on August 3rd, the government said it was still in the process of drawing up plans for a booster vaccination, saying that exactly who would receive it and under what circumstances was to be determined. 

“We are looking at the scenario where Switzerland starts with a third dose in the fall, Masserey said, adding that “this decision must be taken on the basis of clear and proven facts. Israel’s is based solely on observations. We are awaiting scientific data”.

Two months later, in October, the plans were still under development. 

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland still stalling on booster shots?

However, former FOPH director Andreas Faller warned that Swiss health officials should not take too long to decide on the booster strategy.

“We need to learn from our past mistakes and take the data coming out of Israel seriously. We cannot afford to waste precious time once again”, he said.

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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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