Zurich health director says unvaccinated should forgo COVID treatment

Zurich health director says unvaccinated should forgo COVID treatment

Natalie Rickli, health director for Canton Zurich, has said that people who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus should go without hospital treatment, if they catch the virus.

Unvaccinated “a burden on the health system” in Switzerland

The councillor for the Swiss People’s Party made the claims in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger, where she stated that the unvaccinated should bear the brunt of any new restrictions. She argued that unvaccinated people are extending COVID restrictions and that, “Because of you, we have measures that are a burden on the health system." 

When asked whether the unvaccinated should sign a pledge that they do not want hospital or intensive care treatment in the event of catching COVID, she told the newspaper that it was not a requirement, "but I would say that it would be consistent." 

Swiss hospitals forced to delay key treatments

She made the point that, in order to stop hospitals being overwhelmed with preventable COVID cases, refusing hospital treatment “would be real personal responsibility.” She said that she understood the frustration from the healthcare system that they have to treat preventable cases of COVID-19. She noted that the number of unvaccinated patients is continuing an “emergency scenario” that is unsustainable.

The comments come as another wave of coronavirus, fuelled by the delta variant, is starting to put pressure on Swiss hospitals. Rickli pointed out that the current rise in COVID-19 hospitalisations has forced doctors to delay key treatments to cope with the influx. University Hospital Zurich reported earlier in the week that their intensive care unit was full.

Vaccination “the only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic”

Alongside advocating for the extended use of COVID certificates, Rickli made it clear that the only way out of the pandemic was to “vaccinate vaccinate vaccinate.” She said that further restrictions shouldn’t be enforced on the vaccinated, and that mask mandates should be replaced with the COVID certificates. 

“The certificate enables us to lead an almost normal life again," added the health director, adding that she hoped her strong stance would encourage more people to get vaccinated. The politician has already been the subject of anger and abuse, and was attacked by anti-vax protesters earlier in August. To her attackers, she said, “Don't clog our hospitals; we want to get back to normal.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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