Why Swissmedic approves a vaccine that has not been ordered

Why Swissmedic approves a vaccine that has not been ordered

Why Swissmedic approves a vaccine that has not been ordered

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be administered in Switzerland.

Image: Keystone

Swissmedic has surprisingly approved the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, although Switzerland has not yet ordered the vaccine. What’s it all about?

In Switzerland, three vaccines in the fight against the coronavirus have been approved since Monday. After Swissmedic had already approved the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna several months ago, the authority also gave the green light to the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Monday. The vaccine “COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen” is approved for a limited period of time for people over the age of 18, according to a statement.

The move seems to come as a surprise because the responsible Federal Office of Public Health BAG has not yet ordered any doses of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. “If the required criteria are met, we will grant approval,” a spokesman for Swissmedic told “blue News”.

The approval now makes it possible for Janssen Cilag, the Swiss subsidiary of the US corporation Johnson & Johnson, to sell the vaccine in Switzerland. Possible buyers are companies who want to vaccinate their employees with the vaccine – at their own expense, however, as reported by SRF.

Contracts with five manufacturers

So far, the federal government has concluded contracts with five vaccine manufacturers: with Moderna (around 13.5 million vaccine doses), with Pfizer / Biontech (around three million vaccine doses), Astrazeneca (around 5.3 million vaccine doses) and with Curevac (five million vaccine doses) and Novavax (six million doses). According to the BAG, the fact that no order has yet been placed with Johnson & Johnson is due, among other things, to the fact that the manufacturer can only deliver from the third trimester.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was approved in the EU on March 11; orders for 200 million cans had previously been placed. When asked by “blue News”, the BAG did not want to say whether orders from Johnson & Johnson are also planned in Switzerland. “For tactical reasons we cannot comment on ongoing negotiations,” said a media spokeswoman.

According to Swissmedic, the active ingredient from Johnson & Johnson is effective between 64.2 percent (age group 18 to 64 years) and 82.4 percent (65 years and older). “Severe and critical courses of the Covid 19 disease can be prevented with this vaccination (almost 85 percent),” says Swissmedic.

It has also been shown to have “a good effect on the mutations that are dominant in Brazil and South Africa”. The vaccine can be stored frozen and can be kept unopened in the refrigerator for up to three months. Unlike the mRNA vaccines from Biotech / Pfizer and Moderna, the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is based on vector technology. The great advantage of the vaccine: In contrast to the previously approved vaccines, it only has to be administered once.

The vaccine from the British-Swedish manufacturer Astrazeneca is still being tested by Swissmedic.

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Swissmedic approves vaccine ordered

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