‘First come, first served’: How to get the vaccine sooner in Switzerland

In many Swiss cantons, the general public can already register for the coronavirus vaccination. The appointments will be based on ‘first come, first served’ basis.

'First come, first served': How to get the vaccine sooner in Switzerland
Pre-registration for the Covid shot is possible in several cantons. Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / POOL / AFP

As vaccines are currently in short supply, the wait for an appointment is long, especially for those under 75 or who don’t fall into the ‘high risk’ category — that is, people suffering from certain chronic ailments.

Some cantons decided to speed up the process by allowing general public to register for the shot.

“In many cantons, everyone who wants to be vaccinated has been able to register for several weeks,” said Tobias Bär, communications officer at the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors.

Basel City, for instance announced that residents from the age of 16 can pre-register for a vaccination appointment.

It said, however, that “young, healthy people will probably only get an appointment in June”, after priority groups defined by the Federal Office of Public Health have received their shots.

READ MORE: How to register for the coronavirus vaccine in your Swiss canton

The same option exists in Luzern, where 9,500 people have already pre-registered for the vaccine. 

Geneva, Aargau, Freiburg and Solothurn, along with some other cantons, offer this possibility as well, but they don’t publicise it to avoid overloading their registration system.  

You can check the availability of pre-registering in your place of residence by going on your canton’s website and clicking on the vaccination link(s).

READ MORE: Switzerland’s leaked proposal to allow benefits for vaccinated people 

Even if you are able to do so, keep in mind that you will not get your shot immediately or anytime soon. However, there are advantages to putting your name on the list.

One benefit is that when appointments open up for general public, those on the list will be called first, in the order in which they pre-registered. So the sooner you do it, the better.

Another advantage is that “anyone who registers now helps us with the planning,” according to the Aargau Health Department.

In other words, cantons will know how many doses they will need for everyone who wants to be inoculated.

Registered people would be contacted by SMS as soon as an appointment becomes available in their area.

To date, cantons received 971,850 doses of vaccines, 807,799 of which have been administered. Of that number, 259,793 people received both shots. 

The federal government still has over 192,000 doses in stock that will distributed among cantons.

In all, Switzerland ordered over 32 million doses from five different manufacturers. Some, like the vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca may not be used, while those ordered from Novavax and Curevac are not expected to be delivered before late spring. 

Only vaccines from Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna are currently administered  in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Should Switzerland follow Britain’s coronavirus vaccination strategy? 

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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?