Fourth shot: Switzerland plans additional Covid booster in autumn 2022

Swiss authorities are planning another booster campaign which will kick in at the end of summer.

Several vials of Covid vaccine with purple lids
Is Switzerland set for a second booster? Photo: ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP

Concerned about the waning protection of booster jabs after six months, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health has laid out a plan for people to receive a second booster shot – or a fourth jab in total – in the autumn of 2022. 

The FOPH said it did not want to presume the existing vaccination protection would last after the summer. 

However, unlike the current booster campaign, the shots may be recommended not for the entire population but those in particular risk groups. 

The Federal Vaccination Commission said those above the age of 65 and who have pre-existing conditions or other illnesses may be recommended a fourth jab. 

The FOPH did however not rule out another shot for the entire population, although they consider this to be the “worst case” scenario. 

Covid-19 infections: Has Switzerland reached the peak yet?

At this stage, no decision has been made, with the FOPH currently investigating the level of vaccination protection by the booster shot alongside the impact of the less virulent omicron variant. 

The priority however was ensuring that the cantons are ready to administer another round of vaccinations if they are deemed appropriate. 

While the vaccination campaign is coordinated at a federal level, the responsibility of carrying out the campaign is handled domestically. 

“Currently it can be assumed that the main peak of the booster vaccinations to be administered in the autumn/before the winter season will again be concentrated in a relatively short period of around 2 months,” the government said. 

Fourth shots have already been administered in Israel, while people in certain risk categories have received a so-called ‘second booster’ in Germany. 

Switzerland on Wednesday announced a further relaxation of Covid measures would be contingent on the continuation of the vaccination campaign, along with a decline in infection numbers. 

READ MORE: What are Switzerland’s plans to relax Covid measures – and will they happen?

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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?