Second COVID boosters to be offered across Switzerland: What you need to know
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) in Switzerland has announced that a second COVID booster will be recommended for most of the population this autumn, in a new mass vaccination drive. Here’s what you need to know.
All you need to know about the Swiss COVID booster campaign
On July 5, Switzerland joined other nations around the world in planning a second COVID booster campaign for the general public. It comes amid warnings of excessively high coronavirus cases during the summer, with vaccination protection waning.
Swiss authorities are concerned that the number of COVID cases will continue to rise sharply during autumn and winter, fuelled by new and more contagious variants. That is why, they argue, a “timed booster campaign” is necessary to prevent Swiss hospitals and the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
Who will receive the second COVID booster in Switzerland?
At the press conference on July 5, the FOPH announced that a second COVID booster vaccination will be recommended for everyone aged 16 and above by the autumn. Currently, only those over the age of 80 are recommended to get a second booster, although some cantons, like Zurich, have been offering “off-the-shelf” use to the general public since the start of July.
People over 80 who have already been given a second booster, and those who have taken a paid vaccination, will also be eligible for another booster as part of the autumn drive. Like the last federal booster campaign, the system of booking appointments is expected to be run by the cantons and will likely use the system already in place (like Vac.me in Zurich).
When will the second COVID-19 booster campaign start in Switzerland?
The FOPH said that they could not confirm a specific timetable, as the start of the booster campaign will be planned around the epidemiological situation and the availability of vaccines that are effective against the Omicron variant - which are expected to be delivered to the alpine nation by autumn of this year.
Much like the initial vaccination rollouts in Switzerland, a graduated order of priority will be used which will end with a general call for vaccination for all people over 16 years old. Those who are considered "at-risk" and those who are at high risk of developing a serious illness will be given the highest priority for vaccination.
Do I have to pay for a second COVID booster vaccination?
All those who are recommended a second COVID booster in Switzerland will not have to pay for it. The vaccinations will be paid for by the government, cantons and health insurance providers.
Second COVID booster designed to reduce Omicron cases in Switzerland
Speaking at the press conference, the president of the Federal Commission for Vaccination, Christoph Berger, said the country was still “somewhere between a pandemic and an endemic.” He noted that the coming months were the right time to start giving people a new layer of protection against coronavirus.
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