Switzerland: Who is eligible for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?

A close up photo of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
A close up photo of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
Switzerland has begun administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, although not everyone is eligible. Here’s what you need to know.

Unlike most countries where several vaccines have been administered, Switzerland has only administered two different jabs since the vaccines have been approved. 

The Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna jabs have up until now been the only ones administered anywhere in Switzerland. 

While made from different manufacturers, these jabs are both made with mRNA technology. While this has enabled the highly-effective vaccines to be produced fast, it has meant some problems for those who can’t be vaccinated with mRNA jabs. 

As a result, Switzerland is rolling out the one-shot Johnson and Johnson jab. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is now happening with Johnson and Johnson in Switzerland?

The J&J vaccine – known as the Janssen vaccine – was actually approved for use in Switzerland in March, however the government did not buy any doses

As The Local Switzerland reported previously, this is primarily because it would only be delivered in the summer of 2021 “and that is too late for us”, said Nora Kronig, vice president of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

Obviously, the pandemic has gone on a little longer than that, meaning that the Swiss government has had to backtrack on the decision. 

However, there are no widespread plans to replace the current mRNA vaccines by viral vector ones like Johnson & Johnson. The government already ordered 7 million doses each of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for 2022.

Who is eligible for the Johnson and Johnson jab?

Despite rolling out the J&J jab, Switzerland still recommends people get vaccinated with either Pfizer/Biontech or Moderna, as these mRNA vaccines “offer optimal protection against Covid-19 and its potential effects”. 

“If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have a weakened immune system, we still recommend vaccination with an mRNA vaccine” writes the Swiss government. 

READ MORE: Switzerland prepares to roll out Johnson and Johnson vaccine

That said, you can be vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson in the following situations

“If you are unable to receive an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons or If you don’t want to be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine.”

The J&J jab is only available to people over 18, unlike the others which are available for those as young as 12. 

People who are truly allergic to mRNA vaccines are rare, according to the report, although there are some people who are concerned about mRNA due to how new the technology is. 

In that case, it appears people can get the J&J jab on the basis of these concerns. 

For the moment, cantons are planning to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a single establishment on the territory.

Importantly, Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for use in the European Union, and those who will receive this vaccine in Switzerland will be able to get their Covid certificate.

READ MORE: Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate


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