Swiss government: Vaccination rate “not good enough” to avoid new restrictions
Swiss Federal Councillor and Minister of Health Alain Berset has said that the vaccination rate in Switzerland is not good enough to stop a return to restrictions, and has announced a new campaign to encourage people to get the jab.
Improving Switzerland's vaccination rate
Berset made the comments in an interview with Sunday View, where he said that in view of the rise of the delta variant of COVID-19, the “[vaccination] rate is clearly too low." Minister Berset said that although he wanted cinemas, restaurants and theatres to remain open, it would only be possible with a higher rate of vaccination.
Only 49 percent of the Swiss population are fully vaccinated, with just 5 percent waiting for a second jab. This means that over three million people are yet to come forward, although vaccination rates have increased since the government announced plans to scrap free COVID testing for unvaccinated people by October 1.
New goal to protect Swiss hospitals, not unvaccinated people
The comments of the Health Minister are a reversal on the statement he made during the Swiss government coronavirus briefing last Wednesday, where he implied that unvaccinated people must live with the consequences of their actions and that the new government COVID strategy was no longer to protect unvaccinated people but to protect Swiss hospitals.
“Yes, there will be more infections. Yes, there will be more hospitalisations. Yes, there will be more deaths, and we accept that” was the message last week in a direct assessment of the situation. Now, Berset has said that although he “wants to be free," he accepts that a new vaccination campaign is necessary in order to protect the public and the healthcare system. The new campaign, scheduled to start next week, aims to use the school holidays and mobile vaccination clinics to boost the vaccination rates in rural areas.
Federal Council expects COVID cases to rise in Switzerland
The Federal Council continues to predict that “infections will increase in the next few weeks,” and has not ruled out additional restrictions in the near future. This does not bode well for people working in Switzerland, especially as the new restrictions may lead to an increase in unemployment, which has recently fallen by 1 percent from its high of 3,7 percent in January 2021.
The Federal Government hopes that with this new vaccination drive, Switzerland can avoid harsher restrictions in the near future.