Second COVID booster jab given in Switzerland before official authorisation
A report by SonntagsZeitung has found doctors in Switzerland have already begun administering a second COVID booster vaccination without federal approval. The move is justified by new research from Israel, that suggests that a second booster significantly reduces the risk of a severe COVID infection.
Switzerland still hesitant to recommend second booster
Across the world, many nations like Israel, the US and Germany have started to offer a second booster jab. In Switzerland, the practice is still not authorised by the government, but with COVID cases continuing to be an issue, some doctors are choosing not to wait.
"I advise immunocompromised people, and people over 70 years of age, to take a second booster four months after the last vaccination," said Huldrych Günthard, infectious disease expert from the University Hospital in Zurich. He said that recent studies have shown "the risk of a severe or even fatal course of treatment in the intensive care unit decreases by a factor of four with the second booster."
Off-label use proposed for most vulnerable to get second COVID booster
As the practice is not officially authorised by the regulator Swissmedic, those who choose to take a second booster will have “to sign a paper so that the doctor is not liable for complications." Günthard noted that so-called “off-label use” could be used by doctors who want to protect their most vulnerable patients.
He concluded that it “makes sense to be prepared for another wave in the autumn," and that a booster would be advisable for the wider population in late summer. In response, Swissmedic said that it has not received any official application by drug companies to use their vaccines as second boosters, with spokesperson Alex Josty saying, "For this reason, we cannot comment on the medical data of a fourth vaccination."