COVID-19: A booster vaccination four months after initial immunisation is recommended for all and is useful

Bern, 21.12.2021 - Current data show that COVID-19 vaccination provides only reduced protection against the Omicron variant. Protection can be increased with a booster. The Federal Department of Health FOPH and the Federal Vaccination Commission (EKIF) are therefore adjusting their recommendation: A booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine is now recommended for everyone aged 16 years and older as early as four months rather than six months after initial immunisation, especially for older people.

Until now, boosters were recommended six months after initial immunisation. Current data increasingly indicate that protection against infection and disease is significantly lower and declines more rapidly with the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus than with the Delta variant. Data also show that a booster vaccination can greatly improve protection against infection by Omicron.

The FOPH and the Federal Vaccination Commission (EKIF) therefore recommend a booster for everyone as early as four months after full vaccination. Reducing the interval is particularly important for older people to protect them from severe illness and hospitalisation. A shorter interval can now also help reduce the spread of the very contagious Omicron variant.

Given expectations that the Omicron variant will spread rapidly, a booster vaccination is also recommended for seriously immune deficient people after three doses of mRNA vaccine for initial immunisation.

People who received a dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago are also recommended to have a booster with a dose of mRNA vaccine. The proviso is that an mRNA vaccine is not contraindicated and is not rejected for other reasons.

Sufficient vaccine, also for booster vaccinations

The booster vaccination with vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna is only authorised by Swissmedic six months after initial immunisation. With the recommendation from the FOPH and EKIF, however, the professionals responsible will now be able to administer boosters before six months have elapsed, at the earliest four months after initial immunisation. As part of their duty of care, the doctor must inform the patient of the off-label use (duty to inform) and obtain the patient’s consent.

Even with the new interval of four months, the federal government has enough vaccine doses to vaccinate everyone who wishes.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health, Communication
Infoline Coronavirus +41 58 463 00 00
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Federal Office of Public Health