Swissmedic gives Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the green light

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/bluejayphoto
Pic:getty/bluejayphoto

Related tags: Switzerland

Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults aged 18+.

The first deliveries of the two-dose mRNA vaccine will begin next week.

“Having our COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna authorized in Switzerland is an important milestone for us,” ​said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “Switzerland has played a critical role in Moderna’s history since our early days and it means a lot to us that we can now provide a highly effective vaccine to help protect the citizens of Switzerland.”

The initial delivery of 200,000 doses will be made to the Armed Forces Pharmacy, which will distribute the vaccine to Switzerland's cantons. With a total of 7.5 million doses lined up, it represents the country's largest COVID-19 vaccine order.

The vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Switzerland, following that of Pfizer/BioNTech on December 19. Combined, Switzerland will have around 500,000 doses available this month.

Under the national vaccination strategy, priority is being given to vulnerable people (those at particularly high risk), such as elderly people and those with underlying conditions.

Second priority for vaccination will be given to healthcare personnel, and third priority to people who live with vulnerable people. Fourth priority will then be people in communal facilities such as homes for the handicapped where there is an elevated risk of infection and outbreak, as well as the staff of such facilities.

All other adults can then be vaccinated (voluntarily and for free) once sufficient doses of vaccine are available, a position which Switzerland expects to be in this summer.

The Swiss government has procured a total of more than 15 million doses from three manufacturers: Moderna (7.5 million doses), Pfizer/BioNTech (3 million doses), and AstraZeneca (around 5.3 million doses). AstraZeneca's vaccine is still undergoing the approval process at Swissmedic. The federal government is also in discussion with other vaccine manufacturers.

Moderna has already received authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine from regulatory authorities in the US, Canada, Israel, the EU and UK. Additional authorizations are currently under review in other countries and by the World Health Organization.

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