Switzerland will need to destroy 10.3 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19, after they expired this week, the health ministry said on Saturday (Sep 24).
The ministry said it had no choice but to eliminate the jabs after the doses expired last Wednesday, according to Keystone-ATS.
It told the news agency that 2.5 million of the doses were being stored at a Swiss army logistics base and 7.8 million were in an external storage depot in Belgium.
The ministry confirmed an initial report on Swiss news site Beobachter, which estimated that the doses set for destruction were worth around 280 million Swiss francs (US$285 million).
The health ministry, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP, pointed to its early procurement strategy in the race to develop vaccines to counter the global COVID-19 pandemic.
It ordered doses from various manufacturers to avoid becoming reliant on vaccines that might eventually prove ineffective and to guard against any delivery problems.
The fact that vaccines based on mRNA technology, from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, turned out to be effective, left Switzerland with a large surplus of doses.
In June, the Swissinfo news site estimated that Switzerland had an excess of about 38 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines, that would expire before the year-end.
The ministry said that about 3.5 million doses of the new, adapted Moderna vaccine would be available when Switzerland kicks off its next booster campaign next month.
Switzerland, which has counted 13,556 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, has fully vaccinated nearly 70 per cent of its population of 8.7 million.