Reader question: Can I come to Switzerland if I only had one dose of the Covid vaccine?
Travel to Switzerland is picking up and vaccinations are an important part of tourism this year. But there are various rules you should know about.
Say you only had the first dose of the vaccine so far, with your second one scheduled only in four weeks. However you want to travel to Switzerland in the meantime. Can you?
The simple answer is yes — but you must fulfil certain conditions.
For Swiss health authorities, “fully vaccinated” means both doses of Pfizer / Biontech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines. The only exception to the two-dose requirement is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is given in a single shot.
You must be able to prove your vaccination status with a EU-recognised Covid Certificate. If you don’t have one, or if you come from a country that is not issuing these health passes, then you should have an official proof of vaccination, which includes your name, date of birth, the name of the vaccine, batch numbers, and dates of first and second vaccination.
You are considered to be immune for up to 12 months after receiving your second shot.
Provided you can present this document and you travel at least 14 days after your second dose (or one dose, in case of Johnson & Johnson) — which is when immunity to coronavirus is believed to fully kick in — you can come to Switzerland with no restrictions.
What if you don’t meet these criteria?
If you only had one dose of the two-dose vaccine, or 14 days haven’t elapsed since the second shot, or if your vaccine is not one of the four mentioned above, or if you haven’t been inoculated at all, then you must fulfil other conditions.
In case you don’t come from one of the “high-variant” countries — currently India, Nepal and the UK — you must have a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 48 hours of arriving in Switzerland.
If you do come from one of the three countries mentioned above, then you must also quarantine for 10 or seven days, which pretty much defeats the purpose of a vacation.
Does this mean full vaccination is the only way to enter Switzerland with no restrictions?
If you recovered from Covid within the past six months — and can prove it with official documents — you can come to Switzerland without any obligation to test or quarantine.
The same rules — that is, either the vaccination / immunity certificate, or negative test / quarantine — apply, even if the traveller arrives from a high-variant area like the UK.
These are the rules and regulations right now, but they may change if the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and / or other countries worsens.