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HEALTH

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Switzerland is currently investigating selling on the 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it agreed to purchase. Switzerland declined to approve the vaccine in February.

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

The Swiss government wants to sell the 5.3 million doses it had already paid for, according to an article in NZZ am Sonntag.

“We are currently considering selling on the material” said Nora Kronig, deputy director of the Federal Office of Public Health.

READ MORE: Switzerland declines to approve AstraZeneca vaccine 

NZZ claims the decision was made because “AstraZeneca's vaccine has a bad reputation”.

“In the current situation, Switzerland is not dependent on the the vaccines from AstraZeneca”, said Kronig. 

Originally, the AstraZeneca vaccine was expected to make up around one seventh of the total vaccine doses in Switzerland’s entire vaccine drive. 

ANALYSIS: Will Switzerland's rejection of the AstraZeneca vaccine delay vaccinations? 

However, at the beginning of February, the regulatory agency Swissmedic said  that “the data currently available do not point to a positive decision regarding benefits and risks” of this vaccine. 

Vaccines from four other manufacturers have been approved for use in Switzerland. They are Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Curevac , and Novavax. 

So far only two vaccines have been administered in Switzerland: those from Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna. 

There have so far been no indications as to who would be the likely recipient of the 5.3 million doses, or under what circumstances and conditions the sale would be made. 

 

 

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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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