According to the press release, “the Swiss population will have access to two additional vaccines, provided that the clinical trial phases are successful and which Scyssedic grants to its authority”. These three contracts therefore include a total of 17 million doses in addition to the previously insured 15.8 million.
“That’s good news”, delighted with the federal counselor in charge of health at a press conference on Wednesday. This would specifically allow Switzerland to continue its vaccination campaign, including after the summer, he said.
Curevac: Final Testing Phase
Currently in its third and final phase of testing, the German pharmaceutical company Curevac’s vaccine is a so-called messenger RNA vaccine, such as the American companies Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech, which are authorized only in Switzerland. If authorized by Swcedic, “Curevac will likely deliver the dose to Switzerland from the second half of 2021”, FOPH estimates.
With the Modern and Pfizer / Bioentech vaccines, two injections are given for the Curvec vaccine.
By extension, the contract is based on a delivery agreement between the European Commission and Curevac. Sweden will order doses for non-EU EFTA states, of which Switzerland is a part, and then sell them without profit.
Novavax protein vaccine
The contract with US firm Novavax is preliminary, underlined FOPH. The vaccine may be given from the second quarter of 2021 as soon as the contract is signed and Swissmedia has authorized it.
The Novavax product is a protein-based vaccine. Apparently, it contains some proteins of the virus, called “spikes”, which are recognized by the immune system, which produces the resulting antibodies. With the Novax vaccine, Switzerland is adding a third technology to its portfolio, after Messenger RNA and the viral vector vaccine (AstraZeneca, not yet authorized).
The Novavax vaccine is also in the final stages of its testing and has been injected twice. According to the first results in late January, it would be about 90% effective.
The 6 million additional dosage contract with Modern ordered from this company amounts to 13.5 million doses. These additional doses will be delivered “slowly from the middle of the year”, but the contract allows Switzerland to optimize part of delivery if necessary and to receive them in the first half of 2022.
The company said on Wednesday that Modern is “studying the possibilities of relaunching vaccines to deal with new variants.”
32.8 million total doses
In total, Switzerland has now signed contracts with five vaccine manufacturers – Modern, Pfizer / BioNotech, AstraZeneca, Curevac and Novavax for 32.8 million doses. A quantity that should guarantee an adequate dose for the Swiss population, even in the event of delivery difficulties, assured FOPH. However, negotiations are continuing with various manufacturers.
Switzerland is also participating in the international Kovacs initiative, a program that gives it access to additional doses of up to 20% of its population. This initiative should enable economically weaker countries to use vaccines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in Geneva on Wednesday that more than 130 states, including more than 92 states and middle-income countries, should have about 340 million doses delivered by the end of June. More than 60 wealthy countries, including Switzerland, will not receive a vaccine under the Kovacs initiative until July.