The vaccine that has already been ordered may no longer be needed in Switzerland because, according to the plan, large quantities of other highly effective vaccines will be available from May.
The vaccine from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is no longer included in the delivery schedule of the Swiss Army. Deliveries from Novavax and Curevac have already arrived for this, although these two companies have not even submitted approval applications. This is reported by the “NZZ am Sonntag”. In Switzerland, the approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been delayed because the Swissmedic authority is requesting additional data.
“In the current situation, Switzerland is not dependent on the cans from AstraZeneca,” Nora Kronig, Vice Director of the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG), is quoted as saying. According to plans, large quantities of four highly effective mRNA vaccines should be available from May. Kronig confirms that it is being examined whether to sell the AstraZeneca vaccine: “There are considerations to pass the substance on,” she says. But it is still unclear what will happen with it. Switzerland has ordered 5.3 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca. But Kronig also puts the aforementioned delivery schedule into perspective: It is “about working hypotheses that fluctuate”.
Cancellation of the contract will be checked if necessary
According to Kronig, withdrawing from the purchase agreement with AstraZeneca is currently not an issue. However, if it turns out that the active ingredient is of little use, a contract cancellation will be “checked if necessary”. In the event of insufficient effectiveness, clauses allow a withdrawal from the contract.
AstraZeneca vaccine has been criticized from various quarters for some time. It was recommended not to give it to people older than 65 years because the effectiveness in this age group has not yet been sufficiently proven. In addition, the vaccination with the AstraZeneca substance should generally have a somewhat lower effectiveness than that with the substances from Moderna or Biontech / Pfizer. And South Africa even stopped an already planned vaccination campaign at the beginning of February, as the AstraZeneca vaccination, according to the first results of a study, only offers very limited protection against the South African mutation of the coronavirus. In Germany there was occasional criticism due to alleged side effects, and some high-risk patients refused AstraZeneca.
Is the Vaccine Better Than Its Reputation?
In the past few days, however, there have been increasing numbers of positive reports. The well-known German virologist Christian Drosten emphasized that the active ingredient from AstraZeneca was better than its reputation: “When I look at the public discussion in Germany, a lot has been misunderstood.” And a new study from Oxford University suggests that AstraZeneca is more effective if the second dose of vaccine is given after three months.
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