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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
Moderna vaccine is now approved for kids from the age of six. Photo: Andrej Ivanov / AFP

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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Why Switzerland pays more for Covid vaccines than its neighbours

Everything is more expensive in Switzerland, including stuff that Swiss residents get for free.

Why Switzerland pays more for Covid vaccines than its neighbours

Whether you live in Switzerland or you have just visited once, you may be familiar with the mark up on all manner of goods and services when you cross the Swiss border. 

New information has revealed that the cost increases even apply to Covid vaccines. 

EXPLAINED: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

Although the contracts that Swiss government has signed with manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines are confidential, a new document reveals that Switzerland pays around 28 francs per dose – which is a lot more than its neighbours. 

As a comparison, the EU price for one dose of a Pfizer vaccine ranges from 15.50 to 19.50 euros, and for Moderna from 19  to 21.50 euros.

(The euro and franc are at near 1:1 parity as at mid-April 2022).

However, this price disparity can’t be attributed solely to the fact that Switzerland is generally more expensive than most other countries.

Rather, the price of vaccines is based on quantities purchased – the larger the volume, the cheaper the price.

All in all, Switzerland bought smaller quantities of Covid vaccines than the EU, of which Switzerland is not a member. 

While the price the government paid for the doses is not passed on to the population, as vaccinations are free of charge, the overall costs of the pandemic are among the reasons for higher health insurance premiums expected in 2023.

Some of the costs have already been incurred, with “around a third of the total costs for these vaccine doses already paid in 2021 in the form of reservation payments” the report reads. 

READ MORE: Why Swiss healthcare costs are rising and how you can save