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SWITZERLAND

Will residents in Switzerland be allowed to go to Germany for Covid-19 vaccination?

Germany wants to start vaccinating against coronavirus from mid-December, while the rollout in Switzerland is not expected until the end of January. Will people be able to cross the border to get the jab?

Will residents in Switzerland be allowed to go to Germany for Covid-19 vaccination?
You can go shopping in Germany, but nit to be vaccinated. Photo by AFP

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that he plans to start the first vaccinations in his country from December 15th, about six weeks before the earliest vaccines in Switzerland. 

So can those living close to the Swiss-German border simply drive to Germany and get vaccinated?

The answer is ‘nein’.

Claudia Krüger, spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Affairs in Baden-Württemberg, the German state near the Swiss border, said that “the place of residence is a decisive factor for the vaccination”.

The only exception would be any Swiss residents who work in hospitals and nursing homes in Baden-Württemberg, she added.

However, the fact that a coronavirus vaccine will be available in Germany earlier than in Switzerland doesn’t mean that hordes of Swiss residents will be queuing up at the border to get the shot.

According to a new survey of 16,727 people carried out by Swiss public broadcaster SRF, only 21 percent of the respondents said they would go to another country to get vaccinated.

More than a half — 56 percent — said they wouldn’t cross the border, while 23 percent stated that they wouldn’t get vaccinated at all.

READ MORE: Covid-19 vaccine may be ready in Switzerland sooner than predicted 

While originally scheduled to be rolled out in Switzerland in the spring of 2021, the Covid vaccine will likely be ready at the end of January, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Thursday.

The elderly and those suffering from serious chronic illnesses will be the first to be vaccinated, while the general public will be offered immunisations at a later date, he said.

The Health Minister also noted that the government is planning to offer the vaccine for free to anyone who wants it, and there will not be a general mandate to get immunised, with the possible exception of those who work in the healthcare sector and elderly care homes.


 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Switzerland authorises Moderna vaccine for children over six

Children between the ages of six and 11 will now be able to get a Moderna shot, Swiss health authority said.

Switzerland authorises Moderna vaccine for children over six

Until now only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved in Switzerland for this group, starting at age five.

However, on Friday the country’s drug regulatory body, Swissmedic, gave the green light to start administering Moderna’s vaccine to children over six, who will receive two half doses of 50 micrograms at an interval of four weeks.

Those over 12 and adults are injected the full dose.

The agency said that based on clinical studies, young kids react to the Moderna vaccine much like older children and adults do.

“The most commonly reported side effects such as pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, shivering or nausea, were similar to those in adolescents and young adults”. Swissmedic said.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Covid vaccines for children in Switzerland

Also, “fever occurred more frequently in children, whereas muscle and joint pains were seen less often than in adolescents or adults. The undesirable effects were generally mild to moderate and lasted for a few days”.

While some parents may be reluctant to vaccinate their children against the coronavirus, health officials say the vaccines are safe. They also argue that in order to achieve herd immunity, all age groups should have their shots.

While the number of Covid infections has dropped significantly in Switzerland in the past two months, epidemiologists are predicting a new outbreak in the fall and winter, when cooler weather drives more people indoors, where the yet-unknown variants will be more transmissible.

READ MORE: How can I get my children vaccinated against Covid in Switzerland?

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