Switzerland could sell or give away AstraZeneca doses if regulator dithers

Keystone / Alessandro Di Marco

A lack of green light from medicines regulator Swissmedic could see 5.3 million doses ordered by Switzerland sent elsewhere. 

This content was published on February 21, 2021 minutes

The absence of anti-Covid vaccine AstraZeneca from a delivery plan shared last week by the army has raised questions about the fate of the vaccine. The British manufacturer accounts for a seventh of the country’s vaccine dose orders. 

On Sunday, the paper NZZ am Sonntag wrote that the federal government is considering selling or giving away the Swiss quota if market approval continues to be delayed or is eventually denied. The review is dragging on since October because the competent authority, Swissmedic, has requested additional clinical data from a study in the US.

Nora Kronig, who is in charge of vaccine procurement, told the NZZ am Sonntag that the data situation is currently uncertain, which is why AstraZeneca is not listed in the delivery plan. She added that withdrawal from the sales contract is not an option at the moment but said the order would be reexamined if the vaccine fails to get approval. 

According to Kronig, Switzerland is not dependent on AstraZeneca doses and the government does not rule out passing on the doses to others if necessary. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told the paper that the company is ready to swiftly deliver doses to Switzerland as soon as Swissmedic approves the vaccine. 

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