The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been authorised for use in Switzerland following a two-month rolling review, the Swissmedic regulatory authority said Saturday.
“After a meticulous review of the available information, Swissmedic concluded that the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech is safe and that its benefit outweighs the risks,” the body said in a statement.
It is the first vaccine against the new coronavirus that has been authorised for use in the wealthy Alpine nation.
“The safety of patients is an essential prerequisite, especially where the authorisation of vaccines is concerned,” said Swissmedic director Raimund Bruhin.
“Thanks to the rolling procedure and our flexibly organised teams, we nevertheless managed to reach a decision quickly — while also fully satisfying the three most important requirements of safety, efficacy and quality.”
Switzerland, population 8.6 million, has secured around 15.8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, in deals with three manufacturers.
It has signed contracts for around three million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, around 7.5 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, and around 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
With all three manufacturers’ vaccines, two doses are required per person.
With Covid-19 cases and deaths still rising fast, the Swiss government announced Friday that restaurants and bars would be closed again across the country.
“The epidemiological situation is a cause of great concern,” the government said in a statement.
“The number of infections is very high and is continuing to rise. Hospitals and healthcare workers have been under extreme pressure for weeks and the festive period increases the risk of an even more rapid rise in cases,” it explained.
Switzerland is continuing to witness more than 4,000 new cases and 100 deaths each day.
In total, Switzerland has recorded more than 400,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.