No measures, no masks, no quarantine: In the minds of most Swiss people, the corona pandemic is far, far away. But Paul Burton (53), chief physician at the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, is putting the brakes on the party mood. “The pandemic is ongoing and I don’t think we’ll reach an endemic state any time soon,” he said in an interview with Blick on Tuesday. There will be many other variants, perhaps even more serious.
Three things should protect us from harsh outbreaks of disease in the future: wear a mask, analyze data and, of course, boost. “Year after year, because the virus doesn’t go away,” says Burton. The second booster is already needed this summer – for young people too.
Swissmedic knows nothing
A second booster in Switzerland, and that in the next few weeks? In this country, a second booster vaccination is actually not yet an issue. On the national registration platform wir-impfen.ch it is clear: “A second booster vaccination has not yet been approved.”
The drug authority Swissmedic is responsible for approving the vaccines. The authority is irritated by Burton’s announcement of the summer booster. “Swissmedic currently has no application for the second booster in-house from any vaccine manufacturer,” said a media spokesman when asked by Blick. In plain language: another booster is not an issue at the moment. Not even the pharmaceutical companies press on it officially.
Incidentally, an approval decision from Swissmedic for the second booster is required in any case: regardless of whether Moderna is developing a new vaccine adapted to Omikron or whether the existing serum is injected a fourth time. This is because the existing approval applies to the existing vaccine – but only for the basic immunization (two doses) and a booster.
Last approval within 40 days
Moderna does not want to give a specific answer to the question of when the application for a second booster should be submitted. “We are in talks with international regulators about a second booster dose of our Covid-19 vaccine,” Moderna writes when asked by Blick.
Admission by the end of June would be technically possible if the application were made in the next few days. With the last Moderna booster, around 40 days elapsed between application and approval. According to Swissmedic, how much time would elapse before the next booster is approved depends on how good the data situation is.
Vaccination boss wants fourth spades for older people
Whether the fourth vaccination is actually administered does not only depend on the approval of Swissmedic. The Federal Vaccination Commission (Ekif) must also make a recommendation for the booster before it can be administered to all age groups.
At the beginning of May, Ekif President Christoph Berger (60) told SRF that a vaccination recommendation for people over 65 or with chronic diseases was a possible scenario in autumn. A second booster for the general public will probably not be necessary.
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