COVID-19 booster with mRNA vaccines extended to 12- to 15-year-olds and second dose of Janssen vaccine recommended
Bern, 21.01.2022 - The Federal Office of Public Health FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV) recommend the booster for all 12- to 15-year-olds, and for those who have previously received a first dose of the Janssen vaccine.
The vaccine recommendation for mRNA boosters has been updated for the 12 to 15 age group. Everyone will now be offered a booster vaccination after four months. The recommendation was also amended to include a booster vaccination with a second dose of the Janssen vaccine.
The intention is to increase individual protection against infection and severe disease and to slow the transmission and spread of the virus in the current epidemiological situation. More than 3 million people have so far received a booster with an mRNA vaccine in Switzerland.
Pfizer vaccine for booster jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds
The Pfizer mRNA vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged between 12 and 15 in the current epidemiological situation to increase their protection against mild disease and against the additional negative impacts of coronavirus (quarantine, isolation) and to reduce the risk of transmission among close contacts (household members); this includes in particular people who are severely immunocompromised and are not as well protected despite having been vaccinated.
For this age group, the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer (Comirnaty®) is recommended for the booster vaccination. The booster vaccination is recommended at least four months after completing the initial immunisation, provided no confirmed infection occurred during this that period. This is outside the scope of the authorisation by Swissmedic (off-label use). The recommendation is based on the efficacy data for the booster vaccination in young adults and on the safety data underpinning the FDA authorisation. The data situation is being closely monitored.
Second dose of the Janssen vaccine
Since late December 2021, a second dose of the Janssen vaccine has been authorised by Swissmedic as a booster. Based on evidence and the epidemiological situation, the FOPH and FCV recommend the second dose of this vaccine at least two months after completion of the initial immunisation exclusively for
• Those aged 18 or over who have received a dose of the Janssen vaccine and who cannot receive an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons, or who are unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine.
• Those aged 18 or over who received an mRNA vaccine as initial immunisation and who for medical reasons can no longer receive an mRNA booster, or who are unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine.
In the event of a confirmed infection at least four weeks after receiving the first dose of Janssen vaccine, the second dose of Janssen vaccine or a booster with an mRNA vaccine is recommended.
Booster shot with an mRNA vaccine rather than Janssen vaccine
Evidence suggests that an mRNA booster vaccination provides stronger protection against a symptomatic Omicron infection than a second dose of the Janssen vaccine. The FCV and the FOPH therefore recommend booster jabs with an mRNA vaccine as the preferred option, including for those who received a first dose of the Janssen vaccine. People aged 18 or over, who received a dose of the Janssen vaccine more than four months ago, are in principle eligible to receive a booster jab with a dose of an mRNA vaccine (off label), provided no infection has occurred in the meantime.
People aged 18 or over who received a dose of the Janssen vaccine less than four months ago are advised to supplement their initial immunisation with a dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after the first vaccination dose was received (off label). The recommended booster shall subsequently be administered at least four months after the supplement to the initial immunisation (off label), provided no infection has occurred in the meantime.
Booster vaccination with Janssen after primary vaccination series with mRNA vaccines
Within the scope of the authorisation, people aged 18 or over who cannot receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons, or who are unwilling to receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine, may receive a dose of the Janssen vaccine as a heterologous booster vaccination at least four months after completing the initial immunisation with an mRNA vaccine, provided no infection has occurred in the meantime.
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