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UPDATED: Can I get the coronavirus vaccine in a different Swiss canton to where I live?

UPDATED: Can I get the coronavirus vaccine in a different Swiss canton to where I live?
AFP
As with almost everything in Switzerland, the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine differs from canton to canton. Do I have to get vaccinated in my home canton?

From languages to politics – and of course how you feel about a Rösti – things differ significantly in Switzerland from canton to canton. 

Many Swiss cross the border daily, whether to work, meet their partner, to go shopping – or even to go to the doctor.

Sometimes, people cross the border without even realising it, such is the nature of borders in Switzerland. 

The question however of whether or not you can get vaccinated in a different canton is a complicated one – and will depend on who you ask. 

Can I get vaccinated in a different Swiss canton to the one where I live? 

According to official government advice, you do not have to be vaccinated in your canton of residence, or even in your canton of work. 

READ MORE: How can I get vaccinated for Covid-19 in Switzerland? 

In fact, you can get the shot anywhere in Switzerland – and it will be free.

In its official advice, the government wrote that “you are free to choose where you are vaccinated”. 

“The tariff agreement applies throughout Switzerland. The vaccination is therefore independent of the place of residence or the place of an ongoing treatment.”

In this quote, the ‘tariff agreement’ refers to the federal government’s commitment to cover the costs of the vaccine, meaning that they will cover the costs for Swiss to get vaccinated regardless of which canton they get vaccinated in. 

Click here for information on how to register in each canton

 
Does this mean I can get the vaccine anywhere? 
 
Unfortunately however, it does not end there. 
 
While the federal government will cover the costs of Swiss residents no matter where they get vaccinated, they have encouraged people to get vaccinated in their cantons of residence, saying vaccine supplies have been allocated on the basis of the number of residents and the percentage of those in risk groups. 
 
In effect, the legal position is that Swiss residents are encouraged to get the vaccine in their canton of residence but are not legally prohibited from doing so in other cantons by the federal government.

The Local Switzerland has also heard reports of some cantonal medical authorities refusing to vaccinate residents from other cantons, or requiring a connection to the canton – such as working there or having a long history of visiting a doctor in the canton. 

As reported by Watson on May 7th, several cantons have required evidence that a person lives in the canton in order to get vaccinated there. 

In Vaud, this is an electricity bill, while in Uri, you just need to show your face as “everyone knows everyone in this small canton”, Watson newspaper reports

Schaffhausen has unilaterally cancelled hundreds of appointments when finding out they related to people from outside of the canton 

In mid-March, Switzerland’s Tages Anzeiger news site broke a story of Zurich residents travelling to the canton of Schwyz to get vaccinated.

According to the newspaper, the Einsiedeln Hospital in the neighbouring canton was not checking residency information.

Little is known about the number of Zurich residents who have been vaccinated in other cantons.

“The Einsiedeln Hospital cannot influence this data and is not obliged to check the people who are vaccinated at our centre,” a spokesperson told the Tages Anzeiger.

Conversely, authorities in Valais have said they will accept registration for people from any canton. 

Are the cantons allowed to do that?
 
At this stage, it appears to be a grey area – with Swiss media reporting that under the federal law, “it is not possible to exclude non-residents”. 
 
Although, while it might not be consistent with the federal policy, the federal government has not indicated it will intervene to force cantons to vaccinate people from outside their borders. 
 
Therefore, it appears at this stage the best approach for those wanting to be vaccinated is to do so in your own canton – or to be transparent about where you live when making an appointment in another canton, unless you want to have your appointment cancelled. 
 
Note: This story was updated on May 7th to reflect specific cantonal policies on vaccination. 

Member comments

  1. I think the article is correct, but badly written it should start by stating the facts – Most Cantons will only Vax residents.

  2. This information is not correct. I tried to get vaccinated in Geneva as my doctor and workplace both are here, but since my residence is in Vaud, they would not let me.
    Called the helpline and they confirmed!

    1. Hi Friem,

      As we say in the article, the federal rules allow for vaccination in any canton – but some cantons have been stopping people from doing so. We hope you have received your vaccine now in any case.

      Daniel.

      Daniel Wighton
      Editor
      The Local Switzerland

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