COVID-19: further booster vaccination recommended for people aged over 80 as of now
Bern, 05.07.2022 - The Federal Office of Public Health FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV) have updated the vaccination recommendations for the summer and drawn up the outlines of a recommendation for autumn 2022. In addition to people with a weakened immune system, people aged over 80 are now recommended to have a further booster vaccination straightaway. It is currently expected that, in autumn 2022, the vaccination recommendation will be extended to cover the entire adult population. It is aimed primarily at people at especially high risk and healthcare professionals. In the case of people at especially high risk, the aim is to reduce the risk of suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19 disease and to protect the healthcare system from becoming overburdened.
So far, the FOPH and FCV have only recommended a further booster for people with a particularly weakened immune system. As of today, in the light of the spread of the Omicrcon BA.5 variant and the rising number of new infections, this recommendation also applies to people aged over 80 in order to increase their vaccination protection against severe illness during the summer months. On account of their age, these people are at the greatest risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19. In addition, the protection afforded by vaccination against severe illness and hospitalisation declines most rapidly in this age group .
This vaccination recommendation for persons aged over 80 is independent of any vaccination recommendation for autumn 2022. It is likely that people aged over 80 who are vaccinated now will need another booster vaccination at the end of the year.
For all other groups of people who are already fully immunised (vaccinated three times, recovered and vaccinated twice) the FOPH and FCV are still recommending that they wait until autumn for a further booster. On the basis of the current state of knowledge, they are still sufficiently protected against severe COVID-19 disease. With the virus variants that are currently circulating, a further vaccination can only provide limited protection against infection and mild disease. It can also be worthwhile waiting for the adapted vaccines, which are expected to be available in autumn 2022.
The vaccination is free of charge for people aged over 80. If people under age of 80 wish to have a further booster (for travelling or due to a need to protect themselves, for example) they will have to pay for the vaccination.
Boosters in autumn 2022
A seasonal increase in the number of COVID-19 cases is to be expected again in autumn 2022. By then, the general immunisation of the population and hence also people’s protection against severe illness will have diminished. The risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest in the autumn/winter. A further booster can help reduce the number of severe illnesses and hence any overburdening of the healthcare system.
The FOPH and FCV have drawn up the outlines of a booster vaccination recommendation for autumn 2022. The current expectation is that the FOPH and FCV will be recommending all people aged 16 and over to have a further booster in autumn 2022. This vaccination recommendation is aimed primarily at people at especially high risk, i.e. people aged over 65 and those with an increased individual health risk due, for instance, to a specific pre-existing illness or a pregnancy. These groups are at the greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
The booster vaccination in autumn is also particularly recommended for healthcare professionals and private carers of people at especially high risk. This is intended to prevent absences due to illness or gaps in care as far as possible.
People aged between 16 and 64 who have no risk factors have a low risk of contracting severe disease this autumn. They are recommended to have a booster in autumn 2022 if they wish to reduce the risk of becoming infected or of experiencing a rare case of serious illness for private and/or professional reasons (e.g. in organisations or companies providing essential infrastructure services).
In the current situation, a booster in autumn 2022 is not recommended for children and young people aged from 5 to 15, since there is a very low risk of vaccinated children contracting severe COVID-19 disease.
Precise time for booster not yet decided
It is not yet possible to determine the precise time at which the autumn 2022 booster is to be given. The timing and detailed vaccination recommendations for autumn 2022 are governed by a number of different factors which are still unknown. These relate especially to the epidemiological development or the availability and efficacy of an adapted or different vaccine. The definitive vaccination recommendation for the booster in autumn 2022 will therefore only be published at a later date.
In the event of a broad recommendation, the booster in autumn 2022 will be free of charge for the population, as has been the case for recommended vaccinations to date. The costs of the vaccine, its administration and the necessary material will be covered by the federal government, the cantons and the compulsory health insurance. The cantons are responsible for carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination.
Sufficient doses of vaccine are available. The federal government is expecting adapted vaccines to be available in autumn 2022 in addition to the vaccines used to date. At the moment it is not yet clear whether the adapted, bivalent vaccine will be used at the start of the vaccination campaign already. Switzerland always receives the latest available vaccine variant from the individual manufacturers – subject to the corresponding approval by Swissmedic.
Procurement of COVID-19 vaccine for 2023
Switzerland will receive delivery of its vaccine doses in instalments in the course of 2022 and 2023. Following the parliamentary debate, negotiations have been successfully concluded with the manufacturers for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for 2023. A total of 3.5 million doses each of Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) are now being purchased.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Communication, +41 58 462 95 05, firstname.lastname@example.org
Infoline Coronavirus +41 58 463 00 00
Federal Office of Public Health