Switzerland has a record number of flu vaccine doses

The Swiss flu season starts in January; vaccine supplies can cover nearly a quarter of the population. Keystone / Marcus Brandt

Nearly two million shots of influenza vaccine are available in Switzerland this year. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), this year there is also a significantly higher demand.

This content was published on December 5, 2020

Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, ordered 1.95 million doses of influenza vaccine this year. Last year the figure was 1.18 million; in 2018 it was 1.13 million.

No seasonal flu viruses are currently circulating; the Swiss flu epidemic usually doesn’t start until January. Those who want to be vaccinated must do so beforehand.

The health office reports that this year’s flu vaccine doses are being delivered over a longer period of time. As a result, there could be temporary local shortages due to the high demand in Switzerland and throughout Europe.

For example, canton Ticino in southern Switzerland ran out of its first batch in late October already. According to the FOPH, replenishments arrived nationwide in late November and early December.

Swiss health officials recommend flu vaccinations for people at high risk of complications and their close contacts. Others who want to protect themselves against influenza can also be vaccinated. Even if done in December, there is still enough time for the body’s immune system to build up protection.

The FOPH also confirmed that several cases of simultaneous influenza and Covid-19 infections have been observed internationally. However, it is not yet known how frequent these cases are. Serious cases have been recorded in hospitals in Switzerland.

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