Donation of COVID-19 vaccines and procurement of drugs for passive immunisation against COVID-19

Bern, 23.02.2022 - At its meeting on 23 February 2022 the Swiss Federal Council discussed COVID-19 vaccine requirements and use in 2022. The main goal is to supply members of the public under various conceivable pandemic scenarios. Now the Federal Council has decided to pass on a maximum of 15 million vaccine doses to other countries by mid-2022 if these doses cannot be scheduled for vaccination in Switzerland. Switzerland will thus contribute to ensuring that as many people as possible throughout the world are given access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The Federal Council also decided to procure on a centralised basis drugs for protecting people with immune deficiency from COVID-19.

Around 34 million doses of vaccine will be available to Switzerland in 2022, 20 million in the first half of the year and 14 million in the second. If a further booster is required, the supply of vaccine to the Swiss population will be assured at all times. This procurement strategy ensures that Switzerland always has access to the latest available vaccine variant from the respective manufacturer (subject to the corresponding authorisation by Swissmedic).
The Federal Council’s procurement strategy warrants that the best vaccines are available at all times. To cushion the risk that a particular technology or manufacturer will fail, it has bought more vaccine doses than are needed for vaccination. For this reason, the Federal Council has decided to donate a maximum of 15 million vaccine doses by mid-year if these doses cannot be scheduled for vaccination in Switzerland.
The priority is for the donation of vaccines that are surplus to requirements to run via the multilateral mechanism of the COVAX Initiative. From the outset, as part of global efforts to manage the pandemic, Switzerland has been working to ensure that as many people as possible all over the world get access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. In June 2021, for example, the Federal Council decided to donate 4 million doses of AstraZeneca. In December 2021, in consultation with COVAX, Switzerland deferred a million doses of Moderna vaccine so that the COVAX Initiative could benefit directly from the freed-up production capacity.

Drugs for people with immune deficiency

Some people cannot build immunity to Sars-CoV-2 despite repeated vaccination. This is particularly the case for immune-suppressed people with serious underlying conditions (for example congenital immunodeficiencies), people currently undergoing treatment for a disease with drugs that severely impact and subdue the immune system, or people who have had stem cell or organ transplants.
These people are extremely vulnerable to Sars-CoV-2. In the future, they are to be able to receive preventive protection with new medicines. These medicines will come up for approval in 2022. The Federal Council has decided to agree purchase guarantees with the manufacturers so that these drugs can be rapidly procured and made available to the people affected.
Drugs for passive immunisation should be procured specifically for this vulnerable group, and are not intended as an alternative to vaccination for the general public.

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