COVID-19 vaccine: additional contract with Pfizer secures vaccine supply for 2022 and 2023
Bern, 25.08.2021 - The federal government has signed another contract with biopharma firm Pfizer. This will ensure access to a sufficient supply of mRNA vaccine for the Swiss population for the next two years. The new contract provides for the delivery of 7 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, with an option of an additional 7 million doses each year. This is subject to a modified Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine being authorised for use by Swissmedic.
The federal government is currently focusing on mRNA vaccines to protect the Swiss population. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have so far proven to be highly effective and well tolerated. The latest contract means the federal government has reserved sufficient vaccines from both vaccine manufacturers to be able to offer booster shots to the public if necessary. Both vaccine manufacturers are currently researching modified vaccines to combat mutations of Sars-CoV-2.
Contracts with five vaccine manufacturers
The federal government continues to aim for a vaccine portfolio comprising different vaccine technologies (mRNA, protein-based, viral vector), for example to be able to offer people with intolerances an alternative means of protection. The procurement of vaccines from different manufacturers is intended to ensure that sufficient quantities of authorised vaccines are available, even if there are supply difficulties. To date, the federal government has signed contracts with five vaccine manufacturers: Moderna (13.5 million doses for 2021 and 7 million for 2022); Pfizer/BioNTech (around 6 million doses for 2021, 7 million for 2022 and 7 million for 2023); AstraZeneca (around 5.4 million doses, 4 million of which have been donated to COVAX); and Novavax (6 million doses). At present, the Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines are being used in the cantons.
Other COVID-19 vaccines have yet to be authorised for use. Vaccines that have not yet been authorised by Swissmedic are not delivered to Switzerland or stored anywhere else on its behalf while awaiting authorisation.
International engagement to tackle the pandemic
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Switzerland has championed a global solution for fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. It has provided CHF 20 million in support to COVAX to benefit 92 low- and middle-income countries. In April 2021, the Federal Council also decided to support the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) with a further CHF 300 million. Of this, CHF 125 million will go to the COVAX facility. The ACT-A aims to promote equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests, and to strengthen health systems to be able to tackle the pandemic.
Besides Switzerland’s international activities, the Federal Council is constantly reviewing the possibility of sharing vaccines with other countries if they are not needed in Switzerland. It recently donated 4 million AstraZeneca doses to COVAX.
mRNA vaccine technology
Like Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech relies on a novel technology called mRNA. mRNA is a type of messenger molecule that carries instructions on how to make proteins. These instructions provide the body’s cells with the information they need to produce a virus protein. As soon as the protein is produced in the body, the immune system recognises it as foreign and produces antibodies to fight the virus. The immune response prepares the body to fight the virus if it encounters it in future.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Public Health, Communication, firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 vaccination infoline: +41 800 88 66 44 (alternative number +41 58 377 88 92), daily from 6am to 11pm
Federal Office of Public Health