ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland will destroy more than 620,000 expired doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, health officials said on Friday, as demand for the shots drops dramatically.
“It was consciously accepted that under certain circumstances too much vaccine was procured for Switzerland’s needs,” a spokesperson for the Federal Office of Public Heath said, confirming a report by broadcaster RTS.
“The aim is to protect the population in Switzerland at all times with sufficient quantities of the most effective vaccines available.”
Switzerland, which has ended public health measures designed to curb the spread of the disease, secured a total 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2022 for a population of around 8.7 million.
It said in February it would donate up to 15 million surplus doses to poorer countries by mid-year. How many doses can actually be donated is still under discussion.
Switzerland said in March it had secured at least 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2023 from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, with options to double the order.
It will also buy up to one million doses from another manufacturer.
Just over 70% of the population has had at least one shot in Switzerland and tiny neighbour Liechtenstein. Authorities have reported nearly 3.7 million COVID infections and 13,325 deaths.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Nick Macfie)