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Swiss prepare for influx of Covid-19 vaccine doses

Switzerland has ordered more than 35 million doses from five manufacturers. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

The government has confirmed that it will receive another 8.1 million doses from April to July, enabling anyone who wants to get inoculated to receive a first dose by the end of July.

This content was published on March 25, 2021 - 17:13
Keystone-SDA/jdp

In a press conference on Thursday, the government sought to reassure the public that it was on track to massively scale up vaccination in the country. Swiss authorities have faced mounting criticism over the speed at which vaccines have been arriving. Around 1.4 million doses have been delivered to the cantons, enough to fully vaccinate around 5% of the population.

Everyone over 75 years of age and nursing home staff who wanted to be vaccinated had received a first vaccination dose by mid-March, the government said. High-risk individuals should be able to receive a first dose in the second half of April at the latest.

The additional 8.1 million doses will come from the companies Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Representatives of both Pfizer and Moderna were present during the media conference and guaranteed that they will be able to deliver on time. Sabine Bruckner from Pfizer Switzerland indicated that two million doses will be delivered at the end of March.

Pfizer has the capacity to produce two billion doses per year, which she said means that “we can now deliver more quantities sooner - including to Switzerland”. Moderna will deliver around six million by the end of June.

If other vaccines are approved, these quantities could increase significantly, indicated the government. Switzerland has ordered more than 35 million doses from five manufacturers.

AstraZeneca's vaccine is still being evaluated by the Swiss health regulator Swissmedic. CureVac and Novavax have not yet filed for approval in Switzerland. Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine has also been approved but has not been ordered by the Federal Office of Public Health.

Guy Parmelin, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency, reiterated the need to implement the vaccinations quickly. The federal health office has set a goal of vaccinating around 70,000 per day. Currently 20,000 people are vaccinated per day in Switzerland.

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