Cross-border workers are an essential component of Switzerland’s economy.
In 2019, an estimated 325,000 people crossed the border into Switzerland every day to work – 177,000 from France, 76,000 from Italy and 60,000 from Germany.
While cross-border workers may live in neighbouring countries, many have health insurance which is tied to their Swiss employer.
With different countries rolling out their vaccination programs at different times, readers have asked if they can get the vaccine in Switzerland – or if they can chose where to get vaccinated.
Can cross-border workers get vaccinated in Switzerland?
Cross-border workers can get vaccinated for the coronavirus in Switzerland.
This will however depend on their health insurance.
Cross-border workers covered by Swiss health insurance can be vaccinated in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Anyone in this category will have the costs covered by their health insurance provider, the Swiss government and the cantons.
Also those who don’t have Swiss insurance coverage but are employed in the healthcare sector where they are in direct contact with patients can get their shots in Switzerland.
The government defines ‘healthcare sector workers’ as those “with patient contact and care personnel in nursing and old people’s homes”.
Some industries and regions rely much more heavily on cross-border workers – known as frontaliers in French, Grenzgänger in German and frontalieri in Italian – than others. They represent one third of the workforce in some cantons. In Geneva some 60 percent of the city’s health workers live in France.
In the canton of Ticino, one in five healthcare workers lives over the border in Italy – approximately 4,000 people. Ticino’s population swells from approximately 360,000 people to 440,000 during an average work day due to cross-border workers from Italy.
What if I my insurance is not Swiss and I do not work in health care – where should I get vaccinated?
Those who don’t fall under either of the two categories should be vaccinated in their home countries, with the cost liability for the vaccination to be borne out by their home health insurance provider.
Foreign nationals living in Switzerland can also get a vaccine on the same terms as Swiss nationals, meaning it will be free of charge and there will be no priority for Swiss citizens over legal Swiss residents.
Similarly, Swiss residents are free to be vaccinated in the canton of their choice.