Coronavirus: Switzerland passes four million doses of vaccine on to COVAX

Press release, 30.06.2021

At its meeting on 30 June 2021, the Swiss Federal Council decided to transfer to the COVAX Facility a large part of the 5.4 million or so doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that have been ordered. Switzerland is thus able to make a substantial contribution to global efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX is an initiative to ensure equal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the world. Given the very uneven global distribution of vaccine doses, the pandemic is expected to continue for some considerable time across the world.

Switzerland’s vaccination campaign continues to progress: so far around 60 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated once, and over 40 per cent are fully vaccinated. There is also enough vaccine available for children and adolescents to also be vaccinated and to cover any booster vaccinations. The federal government has ordered additional vaccine for 2022; this will also take account of possible variants of the virus. 

The federal government is focusing in particular on mRNA vaccines. These are proving to be highly effective and well tolerated. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are based on this technology. However, other vaccines are also to be used, especially for people who have an intolerance to mRNA vaccines.

Since sufficient vaccine is available to protect the population, the Federal Council has decided to hand on four million of a total of around 5.4 million doses of AstraZeneca to the COVAX Facility. This leaves 1.4 million doses of the vector-based vaccine reserved for probable use in Switzerland. They are to be used primarily for people who have an intolerance to mRNA vaccines or have received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine abroad, and for those who want an alternative to an mRNA vaccine. The vaccine will be available as soon as Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, has authorised it and the FOPH and the Federal Vaccination Commission (EKIF/CFV) has passed the vaccination recommendation on the basis of Swissmedic’s authorisation.

International engagement to manage the pandemic

This year the COVAX Facility plans to make up to two billion doses of vaccine available to the participating countries. Already in February 2021 COVAX distributed the first doses to countries with low and medium incomes. To date a total of more than 88 million doses of vaccine have been delivered to around 131 participating countries.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Switzerland has been working for a global solution for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Last year Switzerland provided CHF 20 million in support for the 92 lower-income countries. In addition to this, in April 2021 the Federal Council decided to support access to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) with a further CHF 300 million, 125 million of which will flow into the COVAX Facility. The aim of the ACT-A is to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests and strengthen the healthcare system in the fight against the pandemic.

The COVAX Facility was initiated by the WHO and other organisations in April 2020, and is operated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) and the WHO. As co-chair of the Friends of the COVAX Facility, Switzerland has played an active role in setting it up.


Address for enquiries:

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
Infoline Coronavirus +41 58 463 00 00
Infoline Covid-19- vaccination +41 58 377 88 92


Publisher:

The Federal Council
Federal Department of Home Affairs