Switzerland: Should binational couples get priority access to coronavirus vaccine?

Switzerland: Should binational couples get priority access to coronavirus vaccine?
A Swiss health expert has suggested binational couples be treated ‘as a risk group’, thereby getting access to the first wave of coronavirus vaccinations.

Dr. Daniel Christen, a professor of Health, Safety and Environmental Protection, has said that unmarried binational couples – many of whom are unable to visit each other due to coronavirus restrictions – be among the first wave of vaccinations. 

Speaking with Swiss daily 20 Minutes, Christen said giving priority to binational couples was “of great importance” to physical and mental well-being. 

“Unmarried binational couples should consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist and receive a certificate which allows them to be vaccinated together with the risk group,” Christen said.  

“Otherwise, in extreme cases, this means a separation of the partner or possible children, from one to two years. This long waiting period endangers the mental health of both partners. Many become depressed or even have suicidal thoughts. That must not be.”

Currently, Switzerland’s vaccine strategy outlines plans to vaccinate healthcare workers along with older people and those with health conditions as a first priority. 

There is no prioritisation for binational couples, whether married or unmarried. 

READ: Switzerland agrees to open borders to unmarried couples 

Christen said his opinion was influenced by his own experiences. 

“A prioritisation for these suffering people is therefore of great importance. I myself have not seen my partner for over a year, because the visa departments of Swiss embassies are closed overseas. 

“I can't visit my partner either, as the country is still completely banned from entering the country. I assume that the authorities will only allow vaccinated people back into the country later.”

While Switzerland has allowed unmarried couples to reunite since August, this is often difficult – particularly when the non-Swiss resident partner needs to fly with a stopover. 

As reported in 20 Minutes, non-Swiss resident partners are frequently stopped and turned back when attempting to come to Switzerland. 

The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration recommends unmarried couples fly directly to Switzerland when attempting to reunite, however this is not always possible from all locations. 


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