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

Covid vaccinations for children between ages five and 11 have been approved in Switzerland. Here’s how you can get your kids the jab.

Children peek into a Covid testing tent in Berlin
Vaccinations are now possible for children in Switzerland. Here's what you need to know. Photo: DAVID GANNON / AFP

On December 14, 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission on Vaccination (EKIF) approved vaccinations for children between the ages of five and 11. 

This followed a decision by the Swiss drug regulator on Friday, December 10th, to approve the jab. Previously, only those aged 12 and over could be vaccinated against Covid. 

Six months later, on May 13th 2022, Swiss authorities approved the Moderna jab for children in the same age bracket. 

This means two vaccines are now approved for children in Switzerland, both of which are mRNA vaccines. 

When did vaccinations start?

The first vaccinations took place from January onwards. The reason for the delay is a lack of vaccine supply.  

The lack of supply has already slowed down Switzerland’s booster shot rollout, while cantonal authorities across the country remain behind the eight ball in rebuilding their vaccination infrastructure. 

How can I get my children vaccinated? 

As with all other Covid vaccinations, the rules are developed at a cantonal level, therefore the exact starting date will be different across the country. 

As with previous rollouts of the vaccine, parents will presumably be able to register their children to get vaccinated in the weeks before the shots are administered.  

Lukas Engelberger, President of the Conference of Health Directors (GDK), confirmed in December that children could be vaccinated at vaccination centres as well as by doctors. 

You can find out the information for each cantons, including how to register and the procedures they have in place, here.

For more information on the vaccination campaign for children in Switzerland, please click the following link. 

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

Is the vaccine safe for children? 

“Clinical trial results show that the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group,” it said in a statement.

The Comirnaty vaccine is administered in two doses of ten microgrammes three weeks apart.

An ongoing clinical trial of more than 1,500 people “shows that the Covid-19 vaccine offers almost complete protection against serious illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 5 to 11-year-olds”, it said.

“Side effects tended to occur less frequently than in adolescents or adults. They included pain at the injection site and tiredness, or less frequently headache, aching limbs or fever,” the agency added.

In the United States, around 2.5 million children have been vaccinated. So far, there have been no evidence of serious side effects.

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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?