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Incomplete data stalls Swiss authorisation of Covid-19 vaccines

vaccine
The government has already placed orders for several million shots of vaccine from three manufacturers: Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna. Keystone / John Cairns

Switzerland’s medical regulator Swissmedic says it lacks the necessary information to sign off on three different coronavirus vaccines ordered by the government.   

The regulator said important data on safety, efficacy and quality are still missing. It has reached out to the manufacturers, who provided data from their studies. 

“We lack data on the effectiveness of the clinical trials and on the important subgroups that participated in these large studies,” said Claus Bolte, head of the authorisation division at Swissmedic, at a press briefing on Tuesday organised by the Federal Office of Public Health. 

For example, Swissmedic wants to know about the pre-existing illnesses of the people who took part in these studies. According to the regulator, acceptance of such rapidly developed vaccines requires a high degree of trust in manufacturers and approving authorities. It is therefore important to examine very closely the effects on different groups of people. 

Rollout plan 

The government has already placed orders for several million shots of vaccine from three manufacturers: Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna. 

At the press conference, authorities said vaccines will be offered free of charge and priority will be given to the most vulnerable groups and health workers. The services of the army will be enlisted to ensure stockage and distribution and the country’s 26 cantons will be in charge of setting up vaccination centres. 

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