Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Second boosters are only recommended for people in high-risk categories in Switzerland. When will this change?

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

Unlike other countries such as Israel, Germany and the United States, Switzerland has still not recommended a fourth booster jab. 

Vaccination rates are currently low in Switzerland, with only around 1,000 jabs taking place per week. 

Around 70 percent of the population is currently vaccinated against Covid. 

‘Out of the question’

Christoph Berger, who heads up Switzerland’s Federal Vaccination Commission, reinforced that Switzerland’s main metric was hospitalisations, which were only increasing slightly. 

“A nationwide recommendation for another vaccination is therefore currently out of the question” Berger said. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

Berger also predicted “the extremely high number of infections… should not increase any further”. 

Berger said approximately 90 percent of the adult population has some form of immunity to the virus, whether from vaccination, a previous infection or a combination of both. 

Berger however noted that another jab may be necessary at the end of summer. 

“In addition, it is still uncertain whether at the end of summer a booster vaccination will be needed for certain people or for everyone.”

The FOPH said in February 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.

Being fully vaccinated significantly reduces the chance of spreading the virus, but does not eliminate it completely. 

Studies show that unvaccinated people are three times more contagious than those who are boosted or who have recently contracted and recovered from the virus. 

Higher spread can also be problematic due to the increased threat of mutation. 

The period of time in which vaccinated people are contagious is also shorter. 

READ MORE: Unvaccinated ‘three times more contagious’ than vaccinated in Switzerland

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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?