Switzerland has refused to authorize the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and became the only country in continental Europe to do so, as it called for more information on the jab. The Swiss medical regulator cited insufficient data to reach strong conclusions on efficacy for the Covid-19 shot. The vaccine approval had been largely expected by many in Switzerland.
“For the vaccine from AstraZeneca, the data available and evaluated to date are not yet sufficient for approval,” SwissMedic said on Wednesday. “In order to obtain additional data on safety, efficacy, and quality, data from new studies are required.” This may have repercussions for the country’s vaccination plan.
“To obtain a conclusive assessment, the applicant will among other things have to submit additional efficacy data from a Phase III trial underway in North and South America, and these will have to be analyzed.”
The country specifically announced it had ordered millions of more COVID-19 vaccine doses from other manufacturers. The Swiss government had signed a deal with Germany’s Curevac and the Swedish government for the order of 5 million vaccine doses, an initial pact with U.S. vaccine maker Novavax for 6 million doses, and secured a further 6 million doses from Moderna.
“The idea behind procuring vaccines from different manufacturers is to make sure that sufficient doses of an approved vaccine are available to the public even if there are delivery problems,” the Federal Health Ministry stated.
The verdict was followed by the Anglo-Swedish company receiving the authorization of AstraZeneca vaccine for use across the EU. Switzerland is not its member – by the bloc’s regulator last Friday. A controversy has started in the continent and individual countries within the bloc such as Germany, France, and Italy have suggested it be used only for people below the age of 65.
SwissMedic has approved the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines.