Health official urges vaccination patience, expert resigns

"We expect vaccination to be carried out in the cantons from early morning to late evening and at weekends," says the director of the Federal Office of Public Health. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

The director of Switzerland’s health office has urged patience in the country’s vaccination campaign, saying all at-risk groups should be vaccinated by the end of March.

This content was published on January 9, 2021 - 16:03

Anne Lévy, director of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), told Swiss public broadcaster SRF on Saturday she could understand people’s impatience, admitting that the Confederation and cantons are facing logistical challenges. But she said vaccination itself “is not that complicated” and there are enough people who can do it. Everyone in Switzerland who wants to be vaccinated should be vaccinated by summer, she told SRF.

Authorities, and particularly the FOPH, have been under criticism for shortage of vaccines and faulty hotlines. The vaccination campaign kicked off at the end of December with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Lévy said a second shipment of 230,000 vaccine doses has arrived in Switzerland since then, and it expects to approve the Moderna vaccine within the next few days.  

Expert resigns

Meanwhile epidemiologist Christian Althaus says he is quitting the government’s expert advisory group on Covid-19. In a Tweet on Saturday announcing his departure, Althaus criticised politicians, saying they should learn to treat science on an equal footing.

The independent expert group has called several times in recent weeks for the government to take tougher measures against the spread of Covid-19.

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