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Reader question: Why was I refused a vaccine in the Swiss canton of Geneva despite an SMS invitation?

Reader question: Why was I refused a vaccine in the Swiss canton of Geneva despite an SMS invitation?
You need an appointment to get the vaccine. Tobias Schwarz / AFP / POOL
While many of us have not even received a notification that we can get the vaccine, at least one reader was called up - only to be told they need to wait longer. Why?

Last week, The Local Switzerland was contacted by a reader who said the following. 

“Geneva health authorities notified me to come in for the vaccine. But when I did, I was told I was too young. Why did this happen?”

While many of us have not even received a notification that we can get the vaccine, at least one reader was called up – only to be told they need to wait longer. 

There are many questions surrounding the vaccination programme, as it is riddled with what can only be called “growing pains”.

As this campaign is new and unprecedented in its scope, it is not unusual that problems pop up from time to time — in some cantons more often than in others.

It is also normal under these circumstances that people may not understand how the system works and how it is organised.

While the criteria for priority vaccines is set by the Federal Office of Public Health and is the same throughout Switzerland, the pace at which cantons immunise differs.

The reasons for this disparity include vaccine supply and delivery, logistical problems, and other factors.

On April 19th, Geneva started to inoculate people from the age of 45. This coincides with the opening of a new “vaccinodrome” on the grounds of Palexpo exhibition centre.

As this venue has a capacity to administer up to 4,000 doses each day, it is expected that the pace of vaccinations in the canton will accelerate.

Other cantons may be more or less advanced.

READ MORE: Switzerland: Why are vaccination appointments still vacant in Zurich?

There are many reasons why you may be refused a jab when you show up at a vaccination centre:

  • The SMS / email you received informed you that you can register for a vaccine, but it is not an actual appointment for one.
  • Once you register, you receive an SMS /email confirming your enrolment. That too, is not an appointment.

If you show up at a vaccination centre with one of the above, you will be turned away.

You must wait until you receive an actual appointment with time, date, and address of the centre. The appointment is typically re-confirmed a day or so before, also through SMS /email.

If you have a confirmed appointment for a vaccine, you will not be turned away.

Each canton provides not only a website explaining the details of its vaccination programme, but also a telephone number you can call with any questions.


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