Switzerland Approves Moderna COVID Vaccine, As Pharma Company Claims Vaccine Could Confer Year Of Immunity – At Least
The Swiss Federal Government has secured 7.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine with deliveries expected to begin next week.

Switzerland’s drug regulatory agency, Swissmedic, has authorized Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for use – in a move that should helop accelerate its rollout of vaccines against the pandemic,

The Swiss Federal Government has secured 7.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, with deliveries expected to begin next week from the Visp-based plant where most of Moderna’s international vaccine stock is being manufactured.

Switzerland’s vaccine drive has so far been slow to get off the ground, hampered by limited access to doses of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which was approved by Swissmedic in December,

Critics had bemoaned Switzerland’s slow pace in authorizing Moderna’s comparable product, which was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration nearly a month ago, and by the European Union last week.

Israel was the first country outside of North America to authorize the Moderna vaccine on 5 January, with the United Kingdom and the granting approval for emergency use separately last week.

Switzerland’s Vaccine Campaign Got Off To A Slow Start – Now It May Speed Up

While Switzerland was in fact the first country in continental Europe to administer a COVID vaccine on 23 December, the motion was largely symbolic. During the Christmas and New Year’s period, only a few more vaccines were administered, with more serious efforts planned for mid-January.

Trailing far behind Israel, the UK, and the United States, Switzerland’s vaccine rollout has also lagged between that of other European Union member states which also began at the end of December, following the European Medical Agency’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

Deliveries of the Moderna vaccine to EU countries already began on Monday 11 January, with 160 million doses pre-purchased so far.

“Switzerland has played a critical role in Moderna’s history since our early days,” Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said in a statement. “It means a lot to us that we can now provide a highly effective vaccine to help protect the citizens of Switzerland.”

Swiss bankers were among the first to invest in Moderna’s novel mRNA vaccine technology nearly a decade ago, and Bancel hails from the nearby French city of Lyon.

At a J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Monday, company representatives said research so far leads them to estimate that the immunity generated by the vaccine would last for at least a year, and that it felt confident in its ability to develop a vaccine based on the new variants that have emerged in the UK and South Africa. It also confirmed it would examine the vaccine’s response to new strains.

Moderna expects to deliver between 600 million and 1 billion doses of its vaccine globally in 2021, with forecasted sales of $US 11.7 billion, based on advanced purchase agreements.

Speaking  at the JP Morgan conference, Bancel said: “The team feels very comfortable … that we are on track to deliver at least 600 million doses.”

Image Credits: KEYSTONE/Gaetan Bally.

Combat the infodemic in health information and support health policy reporting from the global South. Our growing network of journalists in Africa, Asia, Geneva and New York connect the dots between regional realities and the big global debates, with evidence-based, open access news and analysis. To make a personal or organisational contribution click here on PayPal.