Covid-19: Could a vaccine be obligatory in Switzerland?

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Covid-19: Could a vaccine be obligatory in Switzerland?
The Covid-19 vaccine can't be forced, authorities say. Photo by AFP

While the coronavirus vaccine is still being developed and may not become widely available before next year, Swiss authorities are already saying that the immunisation won't be forced upon members of the public.


Back in April, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said that “Swiss law does not allow us to force someone to get vaccinated against their will”. 

This stance is reiterated by Dominique Sprumont, deputy director of the Institute of Health Law at the University of Neuchâtel.

In an interview this week with the television station RTS, Sprumont said the vaccine will be compulsory, “but compulsory does not mean forced”. 


He explained that immunisation will be obligatory for people in certain jobs, such as healthcare professionals and others whose work brings them in close contact with the public.

But others “can’t be compelled by force to vaccinated”, he added.

However, he said that the public should be made aware of the benefits the vaccine would have in protecting society from the risk of another pandemic.

“This would be beneficial not just for health but also for the economy”, Sprumont pointed out.

He expects the anti-vaccine lobby (called anti-vaxxers) in Switzerland to become vocally opposed to the immunisation, as they have in case of measles vaccines. 

But given the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak in Switzerland — at least 31,000 cases and 1,110 deaths — opposition to the vaccine “would be very selfish”, he said.

“These people have forgotten the consequences of serious infectious diseases” that used to be prevalent in Switzerland and other developed nations” before vaccines were developed”, Sprumont said.

Berset pointed out in April that if the controversy arises when the vaccine becomes available, ““we would hope to resolve this problem pragmatically, as we've always done in our country”.


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