A second booster dose against Covid-19 should be recommended for the entire population, but not before fall. On the other hand, those over 80 should not wait, the Federal Health Office and the Federal Committee on Vaccinations announced on Tuesday.
In light of the circulation of the BA.5 omicron variant and the increase in cases in Switzerland, people over 80 years of age who are immunocompromised should access immediately for a second booster.
The goal is to protect these groups of people from severe forms of the disease during the summer months. Because of their age and health, they are more at risk, the Federal Office of Public Health recalls. FOPH adds that it’s possible that people who remember now will have to renew it again by the end of the year.
For people over 80, the second recommended booster injection on Tuesday is free. For others, particularly those who want to travel this summer, the vaccine remains for 60 francs.
>> Read also:
Few effects on younger population
For all other people over 16 years of age, who are healthy and who have already been fully vaccinated (dual vaccination with booster, or dual vaccination and recovery), the FOPH and the Committee on Vaccinations (CFV) recommend waiting until fall before taking a second reminder. According to current knowledge, this age group is still adequately protected from serious infections.
“Cases are increasing but we haven’t had a serious wave yet (…) and hospitalizations are increasing slightly,” FOPH Deputy Director Linda Nartey emphasized in the program’s forum. “The cantons are already preparing and will be ready when the recommendation is announced” for all 16-year-olds in the fall, she added.
>> Interview with Linda Narte on the Forum:
According to FOPH, the second booster will have little effect for now against infection and mild symptoms. It may also be useful to wait for vaccines in the pipeline which will be tailored to mainstream variants. These vaccinations should be available in the fall. The Moderna laboratory submitted an application for a permit to Swissmedic at the end of June for a bivalent vaccine against Covid-19 adapted to the Omicron variant.
“We thought we had a quiet summer”
“We thought we had a quiet summer, but we have a BA.5 wave that is growing exponentially,” Neuchâtel canton doctor Claude François Robert lamented at 7:30 pm.
He pointed out that “the virus is what sets the pace in this case.” “We have to take this summer wave into account, but what scares us the most is the winter wave. And it will be important to be able to vaccinate, especially since we have the hope of getting a vaccine that is also effective against Omicron strains.”
>> Interview with Claude Francois Robert at 7:30 pm:
>> Read also:
The first people ‘in danger’
The fall’s recommendation will primarily target “at-risk” people, meaning those over 65 years of age, those in poor health, pregnant women and health personnel. The main objective will be to avoid overburdening the health system. Children 5 to 15 years of age already will not be affected.
It is currently impossible to know when such a generalized recommendation will be made, FOPH admits. Several factors come into play: the epidemiological situation, for example, or the availability and efficacy of a vaccine adapted to current variables.
If there is a general recommendation, the booster vaccination will again be free, the office determines. The costs will be covered by the union, the cantons and basic insurance. The cantons will be responsible for carrying out the process.
Seven million doses have been ordered
FOPH determines that Switzerland currently has sufficient doses of the vaccine. For 2023, negotiations with Pfizer/Biontech Laboratories and Moderna are over: 7 million doses in total have been ordered.
The Federal Council wished to double it, but Parliament decided to reduce it during budget discussions.
>> Everyone is evaluating the covid virus in the world:
ATS / JFE
“Unapologetic pop culture trailblazer. Freelance troublemaker. Food guru. Alcohol fanatic. Gamer. Explorer. Thinker.”