Switzerland has signed an agreement with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to pre-order up to 5.3 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine that is currently under development.
“Given that it is still not clear which vaccines will ultimately prevail, the government is taking a diversified approach,” a statement said on FridayExternal link.
Switzerland has already inked a deal with United States biotech firm Moderna to secure early access to 4.5 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.
It has also confirmed its participation in the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines when they are approved.
“The Swiss public will therefore gain access to a further Covid-19 vaccine – provided it successfully passes the clinical trial phase and is approved by Swissmedic,” the statement said.
The contract with AstraZeneca – and the Swedish government – is based on an agreement between the European Commission and AstraZeneca for the delivery of up to 400 million doses for Europe.
These doses can be ordered by individual states according to their population numbers and procured once the vaccine has been approved. Sweden will order doses for countries like Switzerland which is not a member of the EU but is a member of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and resell them at no profit.
If approved, the vaccine will be delivered directly to Switzerland by AstraZeneca, which submitted an application for approval of its medicine to Swiss drug authority Swissmedic at the start of October. This was the first time that a drugmaker had presented a coronavirus vaccine for approval in Switzerland.
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