“Travel abroad by plane, coach or cruises should only be allowed for people who are vaccinated or who can present a current negative test before each trip,” Andreas Widmer, a member of the Association of Experts in Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene said in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger.
He added that “vaccination is an expression of solidarity with society”.
Widmer’s comment was a response to the results of a recent poll conducted by RTS pubic broadcaster, which found that only 16 percent of those surveyed would be willing to be vaccinated immediately after a vaccine against Covid-19 is approved in Switzerland.
But could the unvaccinated be actually banned from travelling abroad?
Switzerland’s Epidemics Act authorises the government to make vaccinations compulsory for certain groups of people working in a particular sector, such as healthcare professionals and others whose job brings them in close contact with the public.
However, Swiss law does not allow authorities to force someone to get vaccinated against their will. So unless a new legal requirement is created, it is unlikely that Widmer’s suggestion could be acted upon.
Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, where Covid-19 vaccinations are expected to start already in December, Switzerland is not planning to roll out the vaccine until the spring.
The delay is due to Switzerland’s lengthy drug approval process by the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic).
The country has some of the world’s highest and strictest standards, particularly in comparison with the United States.
According to an article in Watson media outlet on Tuesday, “in the USA, there are comparatively low hurdles for emergency approval. it must be ensured that a drug or vaccine demonstrably helps more than it does harm. Switzerland is taking a different, less risky path.”
Swissmedic’s spokesperson Lukas Jaggi pointed out that “Swiss medical procedure requires specific data to be obtained about the impact of the vaccine on risk groups before vaccination can begin”.
Once it does, the vaccination will take place in a staggered manner, with people in risk groups immunised first, followed by the elderly. Only then will the vaccine be available for general public.