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Immagine: Pixabay

How was it possible to develop vaccines against Covid-19 so quickly?

Development and approval
Immagine: Anne Seeger, SCNAT (CC BY 4.0)

There are many reasons for the rapid vaccine development:


Given its status as a global crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic has inspired many scientists and research institutions around the world to turn their attention to vaccines. The involvement of governments in making financial resources available has also played a key role in light of the investment risks faced by companies interested in developing vaccines.

Manufacturers have profited from the extensive research that has already been conducted on other coronaviruses (e.g. SARS-CoV-1). Study results have been released quickly and made publicly available.

The technology behind the vector vaccine and the mRNA vaccine is also not new. It has been studied for several decades.


Bureaucratic processes were streamlined in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, the approval process applied by Swissmedic was accelerated. The results of phase I, II and III studies are usually not compiled and assessed until all phases have been completed. Given the current crisis, Swissmedic has been reviewing the results of the latest studies on a continuous basis. That said, it warrants pointing out that the requirements for vaccine safety and efficacy have by no means been lowered compared to the usual approval process. Swissmedic issues an approval for vaccine use in Switzerland only after confirming the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.


The epidemiological course of the pandemic has also fitted nicely with the need to conduct vaccine testing. It has therefore been relatively easy to find sufficient numbers of volunteers to take part in clinical studies. Moreover, the high rates of infection helped to test for efficacy.

A video on this topic released by the Swiss FOPH.