Switzerland has refused to approve the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for use in the country.
It is the latest country to have concerns over the effectiveness of the vaccine in over 65’s – after similar worries in France, Germany and Austria.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and several Eastern Caribbean Countries who signed agreements with the COVAX Facility have been informed of the indicative allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. St. Vincent and The Grenadines’ allocation is for 45,600 indicative doses of AstraZeneca.
Dr Claus Bolte, head of authorisation at medicines regulator Swiss Medic, said it had requested more information from AstraZeneca after deciding not to sign-off on the use of the Oxford vaccine in Switzerland.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme his team were “not satisfied with the data we have received”.
Dr Bolte said the precise details of their concerns were confidential but added: “What I can say is that yes, it pertains to different age groups, over-65s and over-55s as well.
“It pertains to comorbidities, pre-existing conditions like asthma, hypertension, diabetes.
The COVAX facility has advised that vaccines will be delivered effective mid to late February with 357, 600 doses of the AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccine, to Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“It also pertains to the way some laboratories assessments were made.”
He added that the results of large-scale clinical trials in the US and South America using the Oxford vaccine would help to provide more sufficient data.
“AstraZeneca has now been granted a conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use in close to 50 countries, spanning four continents, including most recently in the European Union,” it said.
Surveys show many Swiss remain sceptical about the vaccines. According to a University of Zurich survey at the beginning of January, just 50 per cent of Swiss said they were willing to take a vaccine, with one in three declaring they were unwilling to do so at all.