The Covid-19 vaccine booster may be available to younger people this year, according to interviews in the Sunday press. Meanwhile, the head of the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Task Force has warned that more must be done to fight the present Covid wave.
“At the moment, the booster is recommended for the over 65s. But I am convinced that a third vaccination will have to be extended to the entire population in the near future,” Swiss President Guy Parmelin told the NZZ am Sonntag, echoing comments made last Friday.
One had to accept at some point that it would not be possible to convince more people to get the first two doses, and move on to other measures like the booster jab for those already vaccinated, he said. The country has just held a week-long vaccination drive in an effort to convince those wavering over the shot, but the results had not really been satisfactory, Parmelin commented.
Switzerland’s vaccination rate for two doses currently stands at around 64%, which means it is lagging behind many other European countries.
For his part, Christoph Berger, the head of the Federal Vaccination Commission, said the booster should be possible for all those eligible “this year”. “As soon as all the over 65s who want it have received the jab, we can open it up for younger people, he told the SonntagsZeitung.
More action needed
Also speaking in the SonntagsZeitung, the head of the Swiss Covid-19 science task force, Tanja Stadler, expressed her concerns about the current coronavirus wave in the country. The number of new Covid infections has risen significantly since mid-October. On Friday 12 they stood at almost 4,000.
If Switzerland continues as it is, there could be a further 30,000 hospitalisations due to Covid-19, she said in an interview.
The current trend had to be halted, “whether through reducing contacts or another rapid push in vaccinations, ” she said.
She said that the booster would help “to get through the winter better” because it would reduce hospitalisations of risk groups and the spread of the virus in general.
For Stadler, it made sense to wait six months after the second dose – in Switzerland this was administered to the general population from mid-June, so there was “still a few weeks left”. With a booster, the protection against infection could be increased again to 95 per cent, she added.
Source: Swiss Info