Switzerland: Why did Basel stop vaccinations over Easter?

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Switzerland: Why did Basel stop vaccinations over Easter?
An Easter bunny protesting in the city of Basel in April 2021. Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP

Despite Switzerland receiving a delivery of more than 400,000 vaccine doses before the Easter break, authorities in Basel closed vaccination centres over Easter so as not to disturb people during the holidays.


In the lead-up to the Easter break, Switzerland received a delivery of more than 400,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna. 

With vacations largely cancelled and people restricted from doing much of anything over the Easter break, some expected the holiday period to represent a literal shot in the arm for Switzerland’s lagging vaccination scheme. 

Despite this however, vaccination centres across the country were closed. 

Although some cantons such as St Gallen and Zurich had not yet opened their vaccination centres prior to Easter, others like those in the northern canton of Basel City are up and running. 

According to Switzerland’s NZZ newspaper, the decision to close the centres was an intentional one. 


Authorities said they were concerned that the population would react poorly to being disturbed during their Easter break. 

Anne Tschudin, a spokeswoman for the Basel health department, told the NZZ "It would not go down well with the population if we invited to vaccination appointments at such short notice over the holidays.”

As a result, vaccine doses in the canton - and in many other cantons - sat in cold storage over the break. 

This explains why both Basel cantons have such a high percentage of unadminstered vaccines, i.e. vaccines that have been delivered to the cantons but have not yet been injected. 

According to the latest figures from the Swiss government, Basel City has only administered 70 percent of delivered vaccination doses. 

Basel Country has only administered 73 percent of its delivered vaccine doses. 

Switzerland as a whole has administered 78 percent of vaccine doses, a figure which reflects the fact that Zurich - the most populous canton - has only administered just over half of its doses at present. 


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Anonymous 2021/04/09 09:24
They did the same in Schaffhausen. In four days they vaccinated about 270 people, on Saturday only I assume. With 80k people in the canton, about 11000 vaccinated so far, and a capacity (it seems) to only handle about 400 people per day in the single vaccination center opened, I don't understand at all how what logic they use to let three days go idle. That's 1200 people remaining at risk in exchange for a "distraction free" holiday. The quote from the health agency captures the problem perfectly - it's a problem of attitude and, frankly, lack of intelligence. People wouldn't respond well? I can't imagine anyone with half a brain choosing another week of Oma risking her life to go grocery shopping or to the doctor without vaccination instead of a 45 minute appointment in their four day lockdown weekend.
Anonymous 2021/04/08 16:13
It is disappointing that vaccinations stopped during Easter. It says something about how seriously the Swiss are taking Covid that it was stopped for days. Let's hope things change now with more doses.

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