Switzerland is set to destroy nine million expired doses of Moderna’s mRNA Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. Another 5.1 million doses are due to meet the same fate by February 2023.
Reuters noted that the wastage reflects the Swiss strategy of ordering more vaccines than it needed to ensure its population of around 8.7 million would get sufficient supplies, even in the event of supply bottlenecks or quality issues.
“With this deliberately chosen strategy, it was accepted that too much vaccine would be procured and that some of the procured doses would have to be sold, passed on or possibly destroyed,” the Swiss government said in a statement. (Related: Were the chips clogging the needles? Moderna recalls thousands of COVID vaccine doses in Europe.)
Quoting Swiss authorities, Reuters reported that the landlocked country has obtained 31.9 million vaccine doses from Moderna and other suppliers. Of this total, 16.1 million were used by the country while another 3.2 million were passed on to others.
Just under 70 percent of the Swiss population and neighboring Liechtenstein have been injected with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose – a rather low rate compared to those in many other countries in Western Europe.