Switzerland has signed various agreements with vaccine producers. If the vaccines are authorised by Swissmedic, Switzerland will receive the number of reserved vaccine doses stated in the respective agreement in 2021. The vaccine producers will then distribute them in stages over several months:
- Pfizer/BioNTech: 6 million vaccine doses for 2021 and 7 million each for 2022 and 2023
- Moderna: 13.5 million vaccine doses for 2021 and 7 million for 2022
- AstraZeneca: 5.3 million vaccine doses (Switzerland is donating the majority of which to the COVAX Initiative)
- Novavax: 6 million vaccine doses
- Janssen: 150,000 doses for 2021
Switzerland thus has enough vaccine for the whole population for 2021 and for subsequent years.
The federal government continues to aim for a vaccine portfolio comprising different vaccine technologies (mRNA, protein-based, viral vector), for example to be able to offer people with intolerances an alternative means of protection. The procurement of vaccines from different manufacturers is intended to ensure that sufficient quantities of authorised vaccines are available, even if there are supply difficulties.
All vaccines are thoroughly checked by Swissmedic
In Switzerland, the therapeutic products agency Swissmedic is responsible for authorisation: it decides whether a vaccine should be authorised for the Swiss public. If Swissmedic is able to confirm the efficacy, safety and quality of a vaccine, it grants the marketing authorisation for Switzerland.
In an exceptional situation such as a pandemic, a vaccine still has to pass the usual checks despite the need for urgency. However, the review process can be greatly accelerated: Swissmedic uses the “rolling authorisation” procedure during the pandemic. “Rolling” refers to the fact that the data from the vaccine producers are submitted on an ongoing basis and then reviewed immediately by Swissmedic. But this doesn’t involve any compromises when it comes to safety, as the review criteria remain the same.
This video shows what is needed for a vaccine to be authorised in Switzerland: