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Swiss donate Covid vaccines whilst preparing winter defences

Berset says it is crucial to continue to respect the hygiene measures to prevent a sudden increase in Covid infections in Switzerland. Keystone/Alessandro Della Valle

The Swiss government has set out plans to contain the impact of a potential new wave of Covid-19 infections later this year. At the same time, it said it will donate four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Covax global distribution alliance. 

This content was published on June 30, 2021 - 16:44
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Interior Minister Alain Berset said it was crucial to prepare for a possible increase in cases in autumn or winter and to be able to react swiftly, notably monitoring and identifying new variants of the virus, increasing the vaccination campaign and continuing the tracing and regular testing. 

Increased cooperation between the national and cantonal authorities as well as the provision of vaccines and anti-Covid medication are essential, according to Berset. 

“Our aim remains to prevent a collapse of the health system,” he told a news conference on Wednesday. 

Berset said all people who wish should be inoculated by mid-August which should protect them also against the Delta variant of Covid, which is currently spreading rapidly in Portugal and in Russia. 

He said it was impossible to say whether a new wave will reach Switzerland. 

“But it is inevitable that sooner or later everybody will be affected by the virus in one form or another, be it through vaccination or infection,” he said. “The virus is here to stay.” 

AstraZeneca 

The government also decided to contribute four million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines produced by the British/Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to the international vaccine alliance Covax.

Switzerland ordered about 5.4 million doses of the vaccine last year, but it was never approved by the country’s medical watchdog agency. 

The move allows Switzerland to “make a substantial contribution to the global efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic” and to “ensure equitable access to vaccines across the world”, according to a government statement. 

So far, Switzerland has pledged CHF320 million ($348 million) towards the Covax initiativeExternal link, which was launched in April 2020. 

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