Switzerland: Why did Basel stop vaccinations over Easter?

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.

Switzerland: Why did Basel stop vaccinations over Easter?

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. 

Member comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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Is Basel the best Swiss city for foreigners and Geneva the worst?

Switzerland’s cities usually nab top rankings in international quality of living studies. But in a new survey, only one Swiss town made it to the top 10. Here’s why.

Basel is Switzerland’s best city for international workers. Photo by Nadine Marfurt on Unsplash
Basel is Switzerland’s best city for international workers. Photo by Nadine Marfurt on Unsplash

Basel is ranked in the 9th place out of 57 cities surveyed in the new Expat City Ranking 2021.

Carried out by InterNations, the annual survey rates cities around the world in terms of advantages they offer to foreign nationals who move there for professional reasons.

READ MORE: The best commuter towns if you work in Basel

The survey, which polled 12,420 people for its 2021 edition, ranks cities based on criteria such as Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living, along with their sub-categories.

Of the four Swiss cities analysed in the study — Geneva, Zurich, Basel, and Lausanne — only Basel was highly rated, and is one of only three European cities ranked in the top 10 (the others are Prague, in 7th place, and Madrid in 10th).

This is why

A popular destination for international employees because of its pharmaceutical industry, including giants like Roche and Novartis, Basel ranked well across all categories.

For instance, it is in the 1st place for its public transportation network, in a 2nd position in terms of Quality of Urban Living, and in 3rd for Safety & Politics.

All expats in Basel (100 percent) are satisfied with public transportation, versus 69 percent globally. The public transportation system is excellent”, one respondent said.

Nearly all participants (97 percent) feel safe there, against 84 percent globally. The city also performs well in the Urban Work Life Index (6th), particularly for the state of the local economy, which is in the 1st place and the working hours (8th); additionally,  75 percent are happy with their working hours, compared to 66 percent globally.

More than four in five expats (84 percent) find their disposable household income enough or more than enough to cover their expenses (versus 77 percent globally), and 77 percent are satisfied with their financial situation (against 64 globally).

Where Basel is doing less well is in the  Finance & Housing Index (34th place), though it still ranks ahead of other Swiss cities: Zurich (37th), Lausanne (39th), and Geneva (53rd).

But the city ranks 48th in the Local Cost of Living Index: 69 percent of foreigners living there are dissatisfied with the cost of living, more than double the global average (34 percent).

The Getting Settled Index (39th) is another of Basel’s weak points. Internationals struggle with getting used to the local culture: more than one in four respondents (26 percent) state that they find this difficult — this figure is 18 percent 1globally.

It is worth mentioning that in the 2020 InterNations survey, Basel ranked in the 24th place, so it progressed impressively this year.

What about Geneva?

Switzerland’s most “international” city due to the presence of a number of United Nations agencies and multinational companies, places near the bottom of the ranking, in the 47th place.

“It has the worst results among the Swiss cities included in the report and is the only one that does not rank in the global top 10 of the Quality of Urban Living Index”, InterNations said.

Similar to the other Swiss cities, Geneva ranks among the top 10 for political stability (1st) and in the bottom 10 for the affordability of healthcare (56th). However, it lags behind for all other factors, with expats particularly dissatisfied with the local leisure options (23 percent versus 14 percent globally).

“Interestingly, the comparably low quality of life does not make Geneva any easier to afford: on the contrary, it is the worst-ranking city worldwide in the Local Cost of Living Index (57th) and by far the worst-rated Swiss city in the Finance & Housing Index (53rd)”, the report noted.

It added that “while Geneva comes 26th in the Finance Subcategory, it ranks 55th in the Housing Subcategory, only ahead of Dublin (56th) and Munich (57th). Expats find housing in Geneva unaffordable (87 percent  vs. 39 percent globally) and hard to find (63 percent vs. 23 percent globally).”

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

Geneva has a fairly average performance in the Urban Work Life Index (28th) but receives worse results in the Getting Settled Index (43rd). It ends up in the bottom 10 of the Feeling Welcome (52nd), Local Friendliness (50th), and Friends & Socializing (48th) subcategories.

“It is certainly not easy to integrate into the local culture and community,” said one respondent. In fact, 35 percent find the locals generally unfriendly, against 16 percent globally).

The difficulty is making friends in Switzerland is a well-known phenomenon among the international community.

READ MORE: ‘Suspicious of the unknown’: Is it difficult to make friends in Switzerland?

Maybe this is also why they find it hard to get used to the local culture (32 percent versus  18 percent globally) and do not feel at home — 33 percent compared to 19 percent  globally).

Zurich and Lausanne

The two other Swiss cities with a high proportion of international residents fall between the “best” and the “worst”, with Lausanne in the 21st place and Zurich in the 34th.

“All of them rank among the bottom 10 worldwide for the local cost living but among the top 10 for the local quality of life— except for Geneva, which lands in 21st place.”, the survey noted.

This InterNations chart shows how the four the cities are doing in each category. Please click here for a larger version of the chart. 

Image: Internations

You can find out more about each of the four cities from these links. 

READ MORE: Ten things Zurich residents take for granted

Zurich versus Geneva: Six big differences between Switzerland’s two biggest cities

Swiss town ranked the ‘world’s best small city’