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Who will pay for Covid-19 vaccines in Switzerland?

Swiss health officials expect the vaccine to be ready for use in the first half of 2021. But they have not yet decided whether the government, health insurance or patients themselves will have to pay for the shot.

Who will pay for Covid-19 vaccines in Switzerland?
No decision has yet been taken about who will pay for the Covid vaccine. Photo by AFP

The exact price has not yet been determined either, because it is not yet clear which vaccine will be used in Switzerland.

Several vaccines are now being tested but “since it is still not clear which ones will ultimately prevail, the government is taking a diversified approach,” authorities said. 

However, it is estimated that a corona vaccination will probably cost around 40 francs. 

Jonas Montani, a spokesperson for the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said that the question of costs is “still being clarified”.

For comparison, a flu shot costs 30 francs but is paid for by health insurance for people over the age of 65, those suffering from serious chronic illnesses, pregnant women, as well as premature infants.

But Enea Martinelli, chief pharmacist at a chain of regional hospitals Spitäler fmi AG, said the cost should not be passed on to private individuals.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: When will Switzerland roll out a Covid-19 vaccine?

 

As the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible — the so-called ‘herd’ immunity can be achieved only if at least 60 percent of the population is vaccinated — “paying out of your own pocket may discourage people from getting the vaccine”, he said. 

The Federal Council announced on November 11th that it would increase the budget for the purchase of a Covid-19 vaccine by 100 million francs to 400 million francs. 

The government has already signed contracts with two pharma companies to buy their coronavirus vaccines.

In August, it secured 4.5 million doses of the vaccine produce by the American company Moderna, and in mid-October it ordered up to 5.3 million doses from the multinational pharma firm AstraZeneca.

The federal government has also placed a “binding reservation” for around three million doses for the currently most advanced vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer.

 

 


 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs. 

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