Coronavirus: Work begins at Basel vaccination centre

28/12/2020 (10:00)
Press release
Department of Health

Today, Monday, 28 December 2020, work begins at the cantonal vaccination centre in Messe Basel. This marks the beginning of the vaccination programme with the recently approved Pfizer/Biontech vaccine in Basel-Stadt. In the presence of Federal Councillor Alain Berset and State Councillor Lukas Engelberger, those in charge presented the vaccination centre at a media event and provided information about the vaccination programme. The first 4,900 vaccination appointments in the first two weeks of January are already booked up.

The vaccination programme with the recently approved vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech began today, Monday, 28 December 2020 at 13.00 hours in the vaccination centre of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in Messe Basel. 1,900 residents of the Canton of Basel-Stadt will be vaccinated in the cantonal vaccination centre on the first three days, 28, 29 and 30 December 2020. The appointments for the first three days were booked up very quickly. A further 3,000 residents of the Canton of Basel-Stadt will be vaccinated during the first two weeks of January. These appointments are also already booked up. Residents of nursing homes will be served by mobile units in January, as soon as this has been coordinated with the nursing homes.

An important milestone in the fight against the pandemic

At a media event before the opening of the vaccination centre in Messe Basel, State Councillor Lukas Engelberger described the start of the vaccination programme in the Canton of Basel-Stadt as an important milestone for residents in the fight against coronavirus: “The vaccine will help us to overcome the pandemic.” The Head of the Department of Health Basel-Stadt was glad that the first time slots for the vaccinations was booked up very quickly: “I would like to thank the people of Basel for their great interest and willingness to receive the vaccine. At the same time, I would also like to ask people to understand that there will be waiting times. There is currently much more demand for vaccination appointments than there are appointments.”

Together with Federal Councillor Alain Berset, State Councillor Lukas Engelberger visited the intensive-care unit of the University Hospital of Basel (USB) before the opening of the cantonal vaccination centre. Federal Councillor Alain Berset thanked those in charge as well as the staff of the USB for their enormous dedication during the past months.

A major logistical challenge

Esther Ammann, Cantonal Pharmacist and project manager of the cantonal vaccination centre, and Daniel Uebersax from the firm Meconex that ensures operation of the vaccination centre, gave the media professionals a tour of the vaccination centre in Messe Basel and explained the vaccination programme. Cantonal Pharmacist Esther Ammann described setting up the vaccination centre as a complex task, but thanks to starting the project early, at the beginning of September, and the optimal cooperation of everybody involved, it was possible to finish it on time: “We had to be able to take account of various influencing factors in the concept at short notice, such as the date of approval by Swissmedic, availability, as well as the specific requirements of the vaccine, and the vaccination recommendation from the Federal Government. The recent days and weeks have been very intense and I would like to thank everybody who contributed to the success of this important project.” Esther Ammann continues: “The set-up of the centre and the inspections are complete. I am therefore convinced that it will be possible to carry out the vaccination programme rapidly and with a high level of quality and safety and therefore to efficiently relieve the strain on the health service. However, the pandemic is not over yet. It is still important to consistently follow codes of conduct and hygiene rules.”

Daniel Uebersax, director of the vaccination centre, emphasised that the firm Meconex has a great deal of experience of carrying out projects like this. “We know the challenges that a vaccination programme on this scale entails and we are able to guarantee the quality necessary for this.” Meconex has already supported the Canton of Basel-Stadt during the first wave in spring with patient transport and emergency response. Daniel Uebersax says it is a further advantage that the vaccination centre is being operated by Meconex because this means that specialist medical staff won’t be taken away from hospitals, medical practices and pharmacies.

Daniel Uebersax also explained that people who wish to receive the vaccine must fill in a consent form in advance and will need to bring their health insurance card and official proof of identity to the vaccination appointment. “Vaccination isn’t possible without these documents. It also makes sense to bring your vaccination certificate with you if you have one.”

Vaccinations against coronavirus are voluntary and free. People will be given a consultation prior to receiving a vaccination at the Basel-Stadt vaccination centre. A short rest is planned once the vaccine has been given and entered into the vaccination certificate. In addition to the specialist medical staff who administer the vaccine, a doctor will also act as a point of contact at the vaccination centre. Daniel Uebersax: “We are therefore endeavouring to deliver the vaccination programme as quickly as possible but also to respond to the individual questions and concerns of the people receiving the vaccine in the vaccination centre.”

The website provides up-to-date information about when new vaccination appointments become available.