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COVID VACCINATION

Leaked: Switzerland’s proposal to allow benefits for vaccinated people

Access to restaurants, events and other perks would be granted only to those who have had their coronavirus shots, Swiss media reported on Tuesday.

Leaked: Switzerland’s proposal to allow benefits for vaccinated people
Should restaurants be open only to those who have had their Covid shots? Photo by AFP

Amid the controversial debate on whether vaccinated people should be granted special privileges, Switzerland’s Blick newspaper said it gained access to a document outlining some of the benefits the government plans to give to residents who have had their Covid vaccine shots.

The newspaper referred to “confidential debate paper” from the Federal Department of Home Affairs, created “to give the population an incentive to be vaccinated”.

“The government has decided to allow special treatment according to vaccination status, without any additional legal basis”, Blick said.

The document reportedly states that while public institutions such as hospitals wouldn’t be able to treat those who have been vaccinated differently from people who haven’t had their shots, private establishments “should be able to give preferential treatment to vaccinated people”, according to Blick.

If proof of vaccination is shown, immunised people can eat in restaurants, attend concerts and other events that would be closed others.

Vaccinated people would still need to wear masks in shops and on public transport, Blick reports. 

Swiss president Guy Parmelin already said that “in the future, anyone who wishes to travel will need to be vaccinated”. 

However, the document states that system of privileges would not be implemented immediately, and “can only be applied if the majority of the adult population has the opportunity to be vaccinated. This should be the case from May or June at the latest”.

READ MORE: A ticket back to normality’: Swiss support for vaccination pass grows 

The government would also exempt those who can’t be given the Covid shot because of allergies, pregnancy, or other medical conditions.  

“These people could also benefit from activities available only to the vaccinated if they show a negative corona test or can do a quick test on site. The same applies to those who have not yet received a vaccination appointment”.

Preferential treatment should end “when herd immunity has been achieved, that is, when a sufficiently large proportion of the population is immune to Covid. so that the virus can’t spread any more”, the document states.

Should vaccinated people be entitled to privileges in Switzerland?

What is your view? Do you support this idea and would you get vaccinated just to get special privileges?

Please answer our reader survey here. 

READ MORE: Have your say: Should Switzerland introduce a Covid-19 immunity pass? 

Member comments

  1. This is where the real discrimination starts. What if I am healthy and don’t want your stupid vaccines? I am good without them. Who knows what you put there and how it will affect the health in the long run.

  2. I will personally take the vaccine when it becomes available to me. However, I do believe this would end up being discriminatory to those people who for whatever reason don’t wish to be vaccinated. It’s really not an ideal situation on that basis, plus if I’m vaccinated and therefore would have an extremely low risk of becoming severely ill with the virus, why should I care if I am mixing with non-vaccinated people? The problem lies in the resulting healthcare potentially needed if a non-vaccinated person gets sick. Maybe the answer in the long term is forcing them to pay for any resulting healthcare out of their own pocket, i.e. no health insurance coverage if you get hospitalised with covid and chose not to be vaccinated. I am sure that would be controversial in itself, but if you’re offered a free vaccine and don’t want it then surely it becomes your responsibility.

  3. I understand that everyone wants us to reopen and that vaccines are a strategy for reopening. But I am very concerned that this is being proposed and its potential for discrimination and creation of a two class system in a world that is already divided enough. The virus is deadly but its death rate still doesn’t seem (based on numbers as of now, this could always end up different) high enough to warrant such measures that we have today, especially creating a drastic preferential treatment for the vaccinated. I wish that wisdom will prevail upon authorities. And I am sad for humanity.

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NEWSLETTER

Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?

Starting on June 28th, vaccinated travellers from third countries, including Americans, will be allowed to come to Switzerland without having to show a negative Covid test or quarantine upon arrival.

Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?
Vaccination in a foreign country can be proven with an official certificate. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

“In view of the positive developments in the epidemiological situation and the progress made in the field of vaccination, the Federal Council is proposing to greatly relax the prescriptions and health measures at the border for people entering Switzerland”, authorities announced on June 11th.

They specified, however, that final decision on this move will be made on June 23rd.

READ MORE: Switzerland set to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans

However, if the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths will remain the same as now — or, better yet, drop further — vaccinated tourists from outside the Schengen zone will be able to come to Switzerland before the end of June.

What proof of vaccination will those travellers have to show to enter the country?

Basically, the requirements for residents of third nations are the same as for people coming from the EU/EFLA states.

The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.

The document, which can be either on your smart phone or in paper form, must have your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered (or a single dose in case of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

READ MORE: Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?

Another important requirement is that the vaccine you received is authorised for use in the European Union and, therefore, in Switzerland.

So far, the European Medicines Agency has approved vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

In addition to these two, Switzerland will also accept the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac for entry. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the travel should take place at least 14 days after the second dose, which is when immunity to coronavirus is believed to fully kick in.

The same rules apply to people coming from the so-called “high-variant” countries (VOC) which at the moment include Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

They can enter Switzerland if fully vaccinated with proper proof.

Otherwise, they must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 days before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

However, Russia’s Sputnik V, as well as China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have not received European or Swiss approval to date.

Does this mean travellers from Russia, China, and other countries that don’t use EU-approved vaccines can’t come to Switzerland?

They can still come, but will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

This rule pertains not only to foreign visitors, but also to Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad.

Will the Covid certificate be sufficient proof?

If it is internationally recognized, which means valid in the EU and Switzerland, then yes.

Switzerland’s certificate will be ready by July 1st. However, not all countries may have these immunity passports ready for use before you travel abroad.

If this is the case, then a proper vaccine document, as mentioned above, will suffice.

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

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