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HEALTH

Coronavirus vaccinations to start in Switzerland today

The first delivery of vaccines has already arrived in Switzerland. Vaccination will begin on Wednesday.

Coronavirus vaccinations to start in Switzerland today
Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

On Tuesday afternoon, the first delivery of coronavirus vaccines – 107,000 doses – arrived in Switzerland. 

While the official mass vaccination scheme is set to start on January 4th, some cantons will start the vaccination process as early as the 23rd of December. 

READ: When will coronavirus vaccinations start in your Swiss canton? 

Some, it has been revealed, will not start their vaccination campaigns until later – with Vaud, Nidwalden and Graubünden set to start on January 11th at the earliest. 

According to Swiss daily 20 Minutes, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Lucerne will start vaccinating high-risk individuals on Wednesday, December 23rd. 

Several other central Swiss cantons hope to start vaccinations on the same day as well, including Uri, Schwyz, Zug and Obwalden. 

EXPLAINED: What you should know about Switzerland's Covid-19 vaccination rollout 

 

What will be the rollout process throughout Switzerland?

Launching a vaccination programme “is extremely complicated logistically”, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said. 

This is due to the infrastructure that must be set up to store, distribute, and administer the vaccines.

“In recent months, we have prepared infrastructures with ultra-cold warehouses,” Aeschbach said.

“Once the vaccines are delivered, storage and vaccination will be the responsibility of cantonal authorities”. 

If necessary, the military will also provide ice to safely store the doses, as most locations don’t have specialised freezers needed to keep the highly perishable vaccines at extremely low temperatures.

The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, has to be kept at -80 degrees Celsius.

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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