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EU agrees to recognise Switzerland’s vaccination certificate

The European Union and Switzerland will recognise each other's Covid vaccination certificates from Friday, July 9th, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

EU agrees to recognise Switzerland's vaccination certificate
Photo: OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

This month, 27 EU member states along with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein adopted common standards to read digital coronavirus certificates.

Proof of vaccination or acquired immunity via a recognised certificate can help travellers avoid restrictions like quarantine on arrival.

But member states remain in charge of their own border rules, and reserve the right to impose emergency controls if the epidemic situation deteriorates.

“I warmly welcome that the Swiss authorities have decided to implement a system based on the EU Digital COVID Certificate,” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said.

“As a result, the certificate will not only facilitate free movement within the EU, but also between the EU and Switzerland. “This will allow EU citizens and Swiss nationals to travel safely and more freely this summer.”

The EU document — essentially a QR code available on smartphones or paper — shows whether the bearer is vaccinated, recovered from an infection or recently tested negative.

The EU is in talks with several countries from outside the EU and the EAA economic area, including Britain and Russia, about recognising each other’s certificates.

What is the Covid immunity pass?

This passport, in the form of a QR code on a smartphone or printed out on a piece of paper, must be presented by each traveler at the border.

It includes identification data and information relating to vaccination (type of vaccine, number of doses received), screening (date of test, negative or positive result), and even serological analysis, namely if the traveler had Covid and has antibodies.

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

Switzerland’s Covid-19 immunity certificate has been available since June 7th – and now has a linked app which makes the digitalisation process easier. 

Both apps are available for free. Here is the link for the Apple App store here, and that for Android.  

Switzerland’s Covid-19 certificate app up close. Image: FOPH

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COVID-19 CERTIFICATE

What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

In the coming months, millions of Covid certificates are set to expire in Switzerland. What will the government do about it?

What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

As certificates are valid for nine months after the second vaccine dose or a booster, “millions of Swiss Covid certificates will expire by autumn at the latest”, according to Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes.

As many Swiss received their most recent shot in late 2021, the nine-month period will soon be coming to an end. 

Although this is not a problem domestically as proof of vaccination is no longer required in Switzerland, it may pose issues for travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland,  this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

And while other countries have already started to administer second booster shots, Swiss health authorities are dragging their feet, not having even issued a recommendation for the fourth dose yet.

This worries some MPs, who are calling on the government to make second boosters available soonest possible.

“The past has shown that cantons are not always sufficiently prepared. Something like this mustn’t happen again”, said MP Fabian Molina, adding that anyone travelling abroad should be able to be re-vaccinated if they wish. 

Another deputy, Yvonne Feri, noted that the federal government and the cantons have to prepare to vaccinate again within a short period of time.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

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