Swiss president: People who want to travel ‘will have to be vaccinated’

Swiss president: People who want to travel 'will have to be vaccinated'
Will only vaccinated people be allowed to travel internationally? Photo by AFP
Switzerland’s president Guy Parmelin is convinced that a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 will soon be mandatory on international flights.

“In the future, anyone who wishes to travel will need to be vaccinated”, Parmelin said in an interview with NZZ on Sunday. 

He also noted that he would find it “appropriate and understandable” that organisers of mass events like football matches or concerts, adopt the same requirement.

“The Federal Council has to still discuss how we want to regulate this. But I would give great priority to the interests of security”, he added.

To date, there is no widespread obligation for international travellers to present a proof of vaccination before being allowed to board a plane or enter most countries, though many nations, including Switzerland, require a proof of negative Covid-19 test.

Parmelin’s comments coincide with the debate around the question of whether vaccinated people should be granted special privileges in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: Reader question: Will vaccinated people have special privileges in Switzerland? 

So far, Graubünden is the only canton that is giving certain benefits to people who have received both doses of the vaccine — for instance, they may be allowed to avoid the quarantine requirements.

However, ethical and legal questions about this practice abound.

“In general, inequalities in treatment favouring vaccinated people could only be justified if the vaccination also protects against the transmission of the virus and if all people wishing to be vaccinated have access to it”, the National Ethics Committee in Human Medicine (CNE) said last week.

READ MORE: Can vaccinated people avoid Switzerland's quarantine requirement? 

While research indicates that vaccination is likely to prevent transmission, as yet only ten percent of the Swiss populace has been vaccinated. 

The CNE added that “it may be justified, under appropriate conditions, to lift certain restrictions for vaccinated people and to require a vaccination certificate for certain activities of daily living”.

It is also legitimate for airlines to request proof of vaccination, especially since it is difficult to ensure a “sufficiently safe environment for all travellers” on long flights, CNE noted.

While an association of business groups, Economiesuisse, supports giving certain perks to vaccinated people as a way to help boost the economy, some politicians have spoken against this practice. 

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party, for instance, rejects “state discrimination” against unvaccinated people, especially as long as there is not enough doses available for everyone.

“Privileges for vaccinated people would also mean compulsory vaccination through the back door,” according to party president Marco Chiesa.

READ MORE: Can vaccinated people avoid Switzerland's quarantine requirement? 


Member comments

  1. It does seem unfair that when the vaccines are so difficult to get, that only vaccinated people can return to normal life. However, the economy needs to restart, and as more and more get the vaccines, more and more restaurant, hotels, businesses etc can get going again… so I would agree to greater privileges and vaccine passes.
    With respect to those who choose against being vaccinated; they choose between losing the right to mix with other people in restaurants and planes etc, or being part of helping society get back to normal.

  2. It does seem unfair that when the vaccines are so difficult to get, that only vaccinated people can return to normal life. However, the economy needs to restart, and as more and more get the vaccines, more and more restaurant, hotels, businesses etc can get going again… so I would agree to greater privileges and vaccine passes.
    With respect to those who choose against being vaccinated; they choose between losing the right to mix with other people in restaurants and planes etc, or being part of helping society get back to normal.

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