In Switzerland, coronavirus vaccines are not yet available for children under the age of 12, so some parents are taking their young children to foreign countries to be immunised.
For instance, according to media reports, parents from eastern Switzerland go to Germany and Austria to inoculate their kids, even though EU regulators have not authorised any Covid vaccines for young children either.
Doctors in Vienna have already vaccinated more than 1,000 children, while high numbers have also been vaccinated in Germany.
The technical term for this kind of practice is “off-label”, meaning that vaccines are administered without official approval.
Currently, vaccinations are recommended for people aged 12 and over. People aged 12 and over can be vaccinated without parental consent, provided they are “largely capable of judgement”.
While the rules are largely similar in Austria and Switzerland, Rudolf Hauri, President of the Swiss Association of Cantonal Doctors, said that doctors are more reluctant to vaccinate in opposition to official advice so in Switzerland.
“There is great reluctance to take off-label vaccinations because without any data, you run a certain risk.”
Where children are vaccinated without official approval, parents are warned that they make the decision at their own risk.
In Switzerland, children under 12 are given Covid vaccines only in special, paediatrician-approved cases involving compromised immunity or other serious health problems.
In total, 150 youngsters who met this criteria have been inoculated to date across Switzerland.
Philippe Luchsinger, President of General Practitioners in Switzerland, said this takes place on an individual basis with regard to certain conditions.
“There are individual inquiries from parents that are checked individually by paediatricians, especially in the case of children with high-risk diseases.”
Immunisation of children aged five and over will likely be approved in Switzerland in 2022, said Christoph Berger, head of the country’s vaccination committee.