Covid vaccine boosters approved for vulnerable groups in Switzerland

Booster jabs have been approved for vulnerable groups in Switzerland. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

People with a high risk of developing serious complications from Covid-19 may now receive a third vaccine booster jab, the Swiss medicines regulator has stated.

This content was published on October 26, 2021 - 14:18

Swissmedic cleared the use of boosters from vaccine makers Moderna (Spikevax) and Pfizer/Biontech (Comirnaty).

“People at especially high risk can receive a booster dose of a vaccine in order to remain adequately protected against severe episodes of Covid-19,” Swissmedic stated on TuesdayExternal link

This includes immunocompromised people or patients with a weak or non-existent immune response from previous jabs. This could include people who have undergone an organ transplant or cancer patients.

“The latest study data indicate that an additional dose can increase the ability to form antibodies against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, particularly in patients with a weakened immune system,” said Swissmedic. “Those who are at especially high risk can also benefit from a booster dose.”

The Federal Office of Public Health said the booster jab should be limited to vulnerable sections of the population, including people aged over 65.

For the general population, a booster vaccination is currently not permitted and not recommended due to the current data situation,” health officials stated on TuesdayExternal link.

People can start applying for a third booster jab from the beginning of next month when IT systems will be ready to deal with the expected flow of requests.

Dose schedule

A third dose for vulnerable people can now be administered at least six months after they received their second dose. For patients who showed little or no immune response reaction to their first two jabs, a booster can be administered after 28 days of the second jab.

The booster jab will be administered at the usual dosage for the Comirnaty vaccine and a half dose for the Spikevax vaccine.

Switzerland received some 7,700 extra vaccine doses at the end of last week. The government has ordered seven million new doses from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech to be delivered next year.

The number of new infections has been rising in Switzerland in recent weeks. Some 1,491 cases were reported on Tuesday, mainly among younger people. The seven-day average stands at 1,237 – an increase of 35% from the previous period.

However, the number of hospitalisations remains stable and there has been a slight decrease in the number of deaths.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Tanja Stadler, head of Switzerland’s Covid-19 science taskforce, said that two vaccine jabs can prevent eight out of ten hospitalisations.

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