COVID-19: Booster vaccination for everyone improves protection and slows the spread of the virus

Bern, 26.11.2021 - In view of the significant rise in cases in Switzerland, the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV) recommend a booster vaccination for the general population, including for under-65s. This is in line with the authorisation decision taken by Swissmedic, the Agency for Therapeutic Products. The booster vaccination is intended to strengthen individual protection against infection and slow down the transmission and spread of the virus in the current epidemiological situation. So far, more than 350,000 people have received a booster vaccination. These are over-65s and younger persons who are at the highest risk of experiencing serious illness. These groups will continue to have priority access to a booster vaccination.

In view of the epidemiological situation and the rapid rise in the number of cases, the FCV and FOPH recommend that all persons aged 16 and above have access to a booster vaccination. The vaccination recommendations have been extended accordingly. The booster vaccination is to be administered six months after full vaccination at the earliest.

Until now, booster vaccinations have been recommended primarily for people over 65 years of age and for younger people with severe pre-existing conditions. This is because the protection against serious illness provided by the vaccine gradually wears off and these groups are at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital care if they get infected. The cantons have already started administering booster vaccinations to this age group and to particularly exposed healthcare professionals; more than 350,000 people have now received their booster jab. In most cantons, over-65s who wish to have a booster vaccination will be able to have it by the end of the year. They will also continue to have priority access to the booster vaccination. Some 1.2 million people aged over 65 have been fully vaccinated for six months and should have a booster vaccination in November or December if possible.

Protection against transmission

Those aged under 65 still have good protection against severe disease six months after full vaccination. Scientific data, however, shows that protection against infection and mild disease also declines in this age group. Young people who get infected despite having been vaccinated generally have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, and rarely experience serious illness. They can, however, transmit the virus – albeit not to such a pronounced extent as unvaccinated people.

To reduce transmission of the virus as much as possible, the FCV and FOPH recommend a booster vaccination for everyone over the age of 16. This can help reduce the number of infections and hence the spread of the virus and prevent the healthcare system from becoming overloaded.

Booster vaccination for everyone

In the current epidemic situation, the FOPH and FCV recommendation that all young people aged 16 and over and all adults should receive a booster vaccination is also aimed at helping prevent the healthcare system from becoming overloaded. The recommendation is based on Swissmedic’s authorisation extension. This permits a booster vaccination with the two mRNA vaccines, using Pfizer for people aged over 16 and Moderna for those aged over 18.

Persons aged under 30 are preferentially recommended to have a booster vaccination of Pfizer vaccine, irrespective of the vaccine used for their basic immunisation. Where possible, people should fundamentally receive a booster vaccination of the mRNA vaccine that was used for their basic immunisation. If this is not available locally, the other mRNA vaccine may also be used.

The detailed vaccination recommendations will be published today, 26 November 2021. The cantons will decide and announce as of when eligible persons can register. The transition from booster vaccinations for over-65s and under-65s is fluid.

Basic immunisation remains central

Vaccination of those who have still not been vaccinated remains decisive for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

Switzerland has sufficient vaccine of both mRNA products to offer vaccinations in 2021 and 2022 to all those recommended for a booster vaccination and to all those who have not yet been vaccinated.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health, Communication,


Federal Office of Public Health

General Secretariat FDHA