COVID-19 vaccine: Swiss federal government signs another contract with Pfizer
Bern, 10.03.2021 - The federal government is undertaking intensive efforts to provide the Swiss population with a COVID-19 vaccination as quickly as possible. Thanks to existing agreements with various manufacturers, the quantity of vaccine available in Switzerland will increase sharply by summer 2021. Now the federal government has signed another contract with Pfizer/BioNTech for 3 million doses of vaccine, doubling the quantity ordered from Pfizer/BioNTech. The additional doses will be delivered to Switzerland from April.
Given that the production and availability of vaccines are subject to such great uncertainty, the federal government continues to look into different vaccine technologies from different vaccine manufacturers. At present it is focusing in particular on mRNA vaccines for the Swiss population. These vaccines are proving to be highly effective and well tolerated. For this reason the federal government has signed a further agreement with Pfizer/BioNTech for an additional 3 million doses of vaccine, increasing the delivery agreed with Pfizer to 6 million doses. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has 95 per cent efficacy and has been administered in Switzerland since December. The extra doses will be delivered in stages from April onwards.
Broad portfolio of vaccines
So far the federal government has signed agreements with five vaccine manufacturers: Moderna (a total of around 13.5 million doses), Pfizer/BioNTech (now around 6 million in total), AstraZeneca (around 5.3 million), Curevac (5 million) and Novavax (6 million). The idea behind procuring vaccines from different manufacturers is to make sure that sufficient doses of an approved vaccine are available to the public even if there are delivery problems. The federal government is still in negotiations with various vaccine manufacturers.
Switzerland is also taking part in the international COVAX Initiative to gain access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of the Swiss population. At the same time it is supporting economically weaker countries that are gaining access to COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Initiative.
By summer, everyone in Switzerland who wants a vaccination is to have been vaccinated. This depends on whether deliveries from the manufacturers arrive as planned, the cantons have sufficient vaccination capacity, and the additional vaccines (from Curevac and Novavax) are authorised.
mRNA vaccine technology
BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and Curevac have opted for a novel technology: mRNA is a type of messenger molecule that carries the instructions for building proteins. These give the cells of the body the necessary information on how they are to produce a virus protein. As soon as the protein is produced in the body, the immune system recognises it as a foreign body and produces antibodies against the virus. The immune response prepares the body to fight the virus. Here you will find an explanatory video on mRNA vaccines.
Address for enquiries
Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Communications, COVID-19 vaccination infoline +41 58 377 88 92 (every day from 6am to 11pm)
Federal Office of Public Health