What the deal costs remains a mystery. However, the federal government has reserved CHF 300 million for the procurement of vaccines.
The announcement by the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) on Friday morning did not come out of the blue. Official director Pascal Strupler had already deliberately placed the message on the SRF program Club on Tuesday: “We are a few hours before a sales contract is concluded.” The conclusion came about, even if after a little more time than just a few hours.
The financial details of the deal remain in the dark. How much money is going to the US for the vaccine, which does not yet exist, and whether part of the total is flowing immediately – no comment: “The federal government and the company have agreed not to disclose it,” says Mark Witschi, head of the vaccination recommendations section and control measures at the Federal Office of Public Health.
Further negotiations are ongoing
However, Witschi makes it clear that further negotiations with other pharmaceutical companies that are researching a Covid vaccine are being conducted in parallel. It can be concluded from this that the entire reserved CHF 300 million has not yet been used for the first deal.
In any case, the investment is a financial risk. If the development of the vaccination fails on the home stretch, Switzerland loses money – how much is one of the secrets of this contract.
If the first vaccine works, you may try to get more doses from it.
But even if it works: the 4.5 million vaccine doses will not be enough. Because everyone had to be vaccinated twice, only a little more than a quarter of the people in the country could protect themselves – too little, says Witschi from the BAG.
«We have definitely set ourselves the goal of more than half of the population. It is therefore important that further vaccines follow. But it may also be that you try to get more doses of this vaccine if it works. »
Vaccination not an issue
Until then, the question arises as to who will be the first to act. That would be looked at together with the federal commission for vaccination questions. However, one must first think of the so-called risk groups: “The elderly and people with previous illnesses are considered to be particularly at risk and are the focus of the first vaccination. They, or, if the vaccine is not suitable, the closest contacts so that they are indirectly protected. »
Vaccination for certain groups – as would be legally possible – is fundamentally not an issue for the federal government, emphasizes Witschi. Information and education will be used to try to ensure that those who should be vaccinated can be vaccinated.