The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Switzerland orders, destroys Covid vaccines

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 9 January 2023
Switzerland has already destroyed millions of surplus Covid vaccines in the last few months, but the country is still ordering more for 2023.
Switzerland orders, destroys Covid vaccines

About 12% of the Swiss population has had a Covid shot in the last six months.

Despite destroying millions of Covid-19 vaccines in the last three months, Switzerland continues to add millions more to its vaccine stockpile for the coming year, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Covid vaccines by the numbers

Since Covid-19 vaccines became available in 2020, Switzerland has ordered about 32.6 million doses. Of those, 16.95 million have been administered, FOPH says. Of the surplus, about 4.2 million doses were passed onto other countries. Another 7.7 million doses were allocated for other nations but sat in government warehouses until they expired. Those were destroyed this fall, according to FOPH.

Right now, Switzerland is sitting on 13.5 million doses, with a commitment to purchase another 11.6 million doses over the 2023.

More than 8 million people live in Switzerland – about 70% of which have received at least one shot. Despite the FOPH encouraging older residents and those with health issues to get boosters, pandemic fatigue and suspicion surrounding the vaccine has deterred them. Just 12% of the population has received a Covid vaccine in the last six months.

The number of new Covid-19 cases in Switzerland has continued to plummet in recent days. There were 4,166 new reported cases of Covid for the first week of January with 225 new hospital admissions related to Covid.

Switzerland orders, destroys Covid vaccines

Mask mandates were in place in Switzerland up until February 2022.

Swiss politicians: Establish Covid travel restrictions

Despite decreasing case numbers, Swiss politicians from across its political parties are calling for stricter travel rules. The government will decide on Wednesday whether Switzerland will require travelers from China to first test negative for Covid before entering the country.

“We should move to strictly control the borders now, otherwise we’ll have to bring in preventive measures in Switzerland later,” Thomas Aeschi of the Swiss People’s Party told local newspaper NZZ am Sonntag. The first direct flight from China to Geneva is due to arrive at the end of the month. Switzerland’s neighbors, such as France, Germany, Italy and Austria, have already implemented such a rule.

“We do not think the current outbreak in China could pose a major risk to the Swiss health care system,” the FOPH said last Friday. FOPH officials say that Covid immunity is high enough among the Swiss population to prevent a new wave of infections.

Requiring mandatory testing for travelers makes “no sense,” University Hospital of Zurich epidemiologist Huldrych Günthard told local newspaper SonntagsBlick. Meanwhile, the University Hospital of Geneva’s head of virology Manuel Schibler told Le Matin Dimanche that continuing to collect data is important to “get an idea of what is circulating in our country.”

Switzerland orders, destroys Covid vaccines

Alain Berset began serving as Switzerland’s president on January 1.

Swiss President facing criminal charges over Covid statements

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s new president Alain Berset (SP) is facing criminal charges over making false statements surrounding Covid-19 vaccines.

Swiss banker Pascal Najadi announced in December that he has filed a criminal lawsuit against Berset, whose former position was as the head of Switzerland’s Covid-19 response. This response included pandemic lockdowns, mask mandates and the introduction of the controversial mobile COVID certificate. The Swiss mobile phone certificate – which was only granted after a resident received both doses of the vaccine – granted them access to restaurants, public venues and other establishments.

In the days leading up to when the Swiss population would vote on whether to implement such a certificate, Berset went onto a national television show during prime time viewing hours and announced that those who have the Covid-19 vaccine cannot spread the virus. He said (in French) “With the certificate, you can show you are not contagious” and Swiss voters approved of the measure.

But, a Swiss study published months before Berset’s statement has proven otherwise. The study was led by Virginie Masserey, head of infection control and vaccines at the FOPH. Masserey and her team of researchers found that the vaccine did not reduce the contagiousness of Covid-19, even if vaccinated people were not showing Covid-19 symptoms.

Masserey announced her results in a press conference warning Swiss residents that “vaccinated persons can transmit the disease as much as non-vaccinate persons.” Masserey cautioned all Swiss residents to remain vigilant about spreading Covid-19 to vulnerable populations, whether they were vaccinated or not.

Days after Berset’s statement, Masserey announced she was leaving the FOPH.

This article may be freely shared and re-printed, provided that it prominently links back to the original article.

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