Coronavirus: Approval of expenditure for cantonal vaccination centre and start of its construction
Yesterday the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt approved expenditure amounting to 11.8 million francs for setting up and operating the Covid-19 vaccination centre of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, as well as for procuring the vaccines. The Canton of Basel-Stadt is planning the organisational and logistics processes so that it is ready from the beginning of January 2021. The physical construction work for the vaccination centre will start in the coming days. When the vaccines are approved, the vaccine will be administered in accordance with the guidelines of the approval authority Swissmedic and in accordance with the recommendations of the Swiss Committee on Vaccination Issues [Eidgenössische Kommission für Impffragen] (EKIF) of the Federal Office of Public Health. A vaccination appointment will be necessary for people who are interested in receiving the vaccine.
With regard to a future coronavirus vaccine, the Department of Health is entrusted with planning the distribution of the vaccine. Being prepared for vaccinations in time is crucially important. Vaccination against Covid-19 aims to protect people and keep them healthy as well as possible. At present, the vaccinations have not yet been approved. The federal authorities are working on this at the moment.
According to project manager and Cantonal Pharmacist Esther Ammann: “The vaccines in our canton will be administered in a vaccination centre. As is already known, the Basel-Stadt vaccination centre will be set up in the premises of Messe Basel. The decision to set up a vaccination centre is mainly due to the complex nature of the vaccine and logistics, but is also intended to relieve pressure on the hospitals. For the actual operation of the vaccination centre and administering the vaccinations, we have concluded a contract with a provider that specialises in basic outpatient medical care that can provide services for high numbers of patients.” The contracted Basel firm Meconex (Centramed/Prevomed) specialises in this sector and has been administering vaccinations for large business for many years. The overall responsibility for the vaccination programme remains with the canton.
The sequence of the vaccinations depends on what vaccinations have been approved at the time. The vaccinations will be administered in accordance with the guidelines of the approval authority Swissmedic and in accordance with the recommendations of the Swiss Committee on Vaccination Issues (EKIF) of the Federal Office of Public Health. People who are receiving the vaccination will be given two vaccinations. The Government is assuming that the gross costs for the set-up and administration of the vaccinations will amount to around 11.8 million francs. Any absorption of costs or reimbursement by the Federal Government and/or health insurance companies are still being discussed. The public do not have to pay for vaccination.
The planned cantonal vaccination centre at Messe Basel has been chosen for a variety of reasons: It has a central location that is easily accessible by public transport from all over the canton, it has enough parking spaces and it provides enough space at short notice. It will be possible to vaccinate up to 1000 people per day in the Basel vaccination centre. The construction work will start in the coming days and will be completed before the holidays, so the Canton of Basel-Stadt is ready in terms of logistics when the vaccine is approved.
In order to receive a vaccination, people will need to register online and get an appointment in advance. The information necessary for receiving a vaccination appointment will be announced by the Department of Health as soon as the vaccine is available. The Department of Health requests that people who are interested wait for this information before signing up. Vaccination is not possible at the moment.
The Department of Health is assuming that it will be possible to deliver enough vaccines to the Canton of Basel-Stadt in 2021 and that vaccine uptake will be high. Cantonal Pharmacist and project manager Esther Ammann says: “Vaccination will help us to get out of this crisis. It is like a protective shield over the whole society. The more people who have the vaccine, the stronger the shield. No compromises will be made on safety. It will be carefully tested and monitored.”
There will be a guided tour of the site for media professionals before the official opening of the vaccination centre. An invitation will follow in due course.