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Switzerland approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, bans social gatherings

By News Desk, with agency report

Switzerland Government has authorized Pfizer Inc.’s and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine for usage across the country as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

This is coming as the government also banned social gatherings, particularly restaurants and others to mitigate the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

The Swiss nod comes after the UK and US among others have already approved the vaccine, while European regulators will be meeting next week to decide.

Unlike the US and UK, which conducted emergency authorisations, Swiss and EU regulators have been reviewing the vaccine for conditional marketing authorization.

Confirming the development through a statement on Saturday, the country’s drug regulator, Swissmedic, said that the vaccine has undergone thorough clinical evaluation and cleared for human use.

According to the regulator, the data available to date showed a comparable high level of efficacy in all investigated age groups, thus meeting the safety requirements.

“The level of protection afforded seven days after the second injection is over 90% in adults,” the statement added.

Switzerland had previously signed contracts with the companies for the delivery of three million vaccine doses. “Deliveries will start in 2020 and occur throughout 2021,” BioNTech said in a separate statement.

The Swiss government on Friday announced that it will close restaurants and leisure venues to curb the spread of new infections. It also said it was considering further steps should the situation worsen.

The nation of about 8.5 million reported 4,478 new infections on Friday, with the seven-day average up 3% compared to last week. It has recorded more than 400,000 cases and about 6,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccinations will start in the “coming days,” Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset said on Twitter.

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