Switzerland is struggling with booster vaccinations, while others have long been moving forward

Switzerland is struggling with booster vaccinations, while others have long been moving forward

Daniel Ballmer and Gianna Blum

Gone are the days when you had to automatically draw Covid certification at the Swiss border. But there is no guarantee that a vaccination certificate will not be needed for future travel – it’s not certain what Corona might bring you. Sooner or later, the certificates of those who have been strengthened will also expire, which worries the tourism industry.

This raises the question of a second travel booster. If the state government gets its way, travelers should reach into their own pockets. It offers the cantons a self-payment system for those vaccinations not recommended by the authorities.

Too much effort

Yet the various cantons tear this proposition up in the air as impracticable. According to the Canton of Zurich, the effort “cannot be justified in any way”. It sounds similar to St. Gallen, Basel-Stadt, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Solothurn. Tariff tourism is a concern if prices are charged differently depending on the canton. Solothurn even suggests that the costs would then be borne at the cantonal level. Basel-Stadt also points out that making people pay for vaccines that are still held by the federal government and will expire soon is not an option.

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Not everyone is against this idea: for the government of Thurgau, for example, it is clear that everyone must reach into their own pockets if they do not allow the fourth shovel to go for their own health, but for their own desire to travel. Baselland is also basically open. The Canton, however, suggests waiting until at least fall, when “more stable vaccination recommendations” can also be expected.

Recommendation pending

The painful point of the vaccination recommendation comes up again and again in response to the consultation. It is likely that the second booster is only recommended for seniors and people at risk. But if the Federal Vaccine Commission (Ekif) and the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) recommend refreshing the entire population again, the self-payment system would of course be immediately obsolete.

Nothing has been finally decided yet. So far, the authorities have only issued recommendations for people with a particularly weakened immune system. The authorities recently announced that they would be informed “at the latest before vacation” that they would recommend vaccinations for the coming fall and winter. A second booster dose has not yet been approved in Switzerland.

Every twentieth German was vaccinated four times

While Switzerland is still arguing about funding and the need for a second boost, other countries have long been making progress. For example, Germany: The federal government has long been asking people over the age of 70 or at risk groups to have a fourth vaccination as soon as possible. The Vaccination Committee warned against waiting for vaccines adapted to the omicron variant.

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Only recently has the federal government decided that the second boost will be available to everyone. On average nationwide, more than 5.5 percent of people received a second booster dose.

Neighboring France is also pushing the gas. In early April, Health Minister Olivier VĂ©ran (42) announced that people over the age of 60 could also be vaccinated with a second booster dose. Until then, this dose was reserved for people aged 80 and over.

A second booster should protect much more

The European Medicines Agency has recommended a fourth suture for everyone over the age of 80. Austria added a risk group to the recommendation. On the other hand, in the USA, they see the age limit for 50 years.

The pioneer here is once again Israel, where the entire population has been receiving a second boost for months. Successful: Research shows that protection against corona infection is twice as high in people vaccinated four times as compared to those vaccinated three times.

The cantons are concerned

Swiss health politicians and the Cantonal Health Directors’ Conference (GDK) have already expressed concerns that Switzerland might react too late again. GDK President Lukas Engelberger (47) has been demanding clarity for weeks so that the cantons can prepare on time.

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