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Swiss to start inoculating youngsters against COVID-19 as early as next week

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ZURICH, June 20 (Reuters) - Switzerland plans to allow 12- to 15-year olds to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 as soon as next week, government vaccine chief Christoph Berger told Swiss newspaper NZZ in an interview published on Sunday.

"Young people who want to be vaccinated should be given the opportunity," Berger told NZZ, adding the government's approval was expected to be communicated next week.

"For those with pre-existing conditions or those in contact with immunocompromised individuals who are at risk, vaccination makes sense," he said, adding that - unlike for older populations - it would not be necessary to target a vaccination rate for the 12- to 15-year old population.

Switzerland on June 4 approved vaccinating 12-to-15-year-old children with the COVID-19 shot from Pfizer and BioNTEch , ahead of the country's plan to start inoculating younger people starting as early as July.

Moderna, whose shot has been approved for adults in the country, has also submitted a request for its vaccine to be approved for 12- to 17-year-olds, currently under review with drugs regulator Swissmedic. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by Louise Heavens)

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