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TRAVEL NEWS

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?

Switzerland has made it easier for people to enter if they've been vaccinated. But which vaccines are accepted?

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?
Which vaccines does Switzerland accept for arrivals? Photo: MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

After the pandemic began to rage across the globe, several companies in divergent countries each got to work in order to create a vaccine.

While some of these used newer technology, like the Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer jabs, and others used more traditional methods, the result is several different vaccination manufacturers have now brought their shots to market. 

With travel starting up again, Switzerland has made it easier for vaccinated people to enter. 

However, the list of vaccines accepted for entry is not exactly the same as the list of those administered in Switzerland. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

What are the rules in Switzerland?

Switzerland administers vaccines from only two manufacturers: Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer. 

Unlike in most European countries and dozens around the globe, AstraZeneca was never approved for use in Switzerland.

Furthermore, while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been approved in Switzerland, the Swiss government initially did not purchased any doses – meaning that the vaccine was also not administered here. Since late September 2021, Switzerland has started administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in limited cases.  

Fortunately however for travellers, while Switzerland’s domestically administered vaccine list is relatively short, it does accept a wide variety of vaccines for people wanting to enter the country. 

As of November 2021, all of the following are also accepted for the Covid certificate. Click the following link for more information. 

READ MORE: Switzerland confirms AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm approved for Covid certificate

This includes the Covishield vaccine, which is manufactured in India under the AstraZeneca name. 

While Switzerland accepts this vaccine, some European countries including France do not – and it has not been approved by the EMA (while Vaxzevria – the other AstraZeneca vaccine – has). 

The two vaccines manufactured in China (Sinovac and Sinopharm) are also approved in Switzerland. 

However, the Sputnik vaccine – produced in Russia and administered in several countries – is not yet approved for arrival to Switzerland. 

People vaccinated with the following will be allowed to enter Switzerland: 

  • Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2 / Comirnaty® / Tozinameran)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273 / Spikevax / COVID-19 vaccine Moderna)
  • AstraZeneca (AZD1222 Vaxzevria®/ Covishield™)
  • Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
  • Sinopharm / BIBP (SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell))
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac)

The full list is laid out by the Swiss government here


The European version of AstraZeneca is the same as the Indian version in all but name. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/LongVisual via ZUMA Wire | Camilo Erasso

That means that travellers from the UK, India and Africa who have been inoculated with the Covishield version of the vaccine will be permitted to enter the country, though they may have some issues with onward travel to places like France, where Covishield is still unrecognised

How do I know if I’ve been vaccinated with Covishield?

The easiest way to check if you’ve been vaccinated with Covishield is to look at your vaccination booklet and see what brand name is listed on there.

If your vaccine certificate states only AstraZeneca, you can check the batch number to find out which version you were vaccinated with.

What proof of vaccination will I need to show?

If you are arriving from elsewhere but were vaccinated in Switzerland, you can simply show your evidence of vaccination you received when you got it. 

If you are arriving from the EU, you can either show proof of vaccination or show your app which is compatible with the EU’s Covid certificate. 

READ MORE: EU agrees to recognise Switzerland’s vaccination certificate

If you were vaccinated further afield, you need to show the evidence of vaccination in the country in which you were vaccinated. 

The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.

The document, which can be either on your smart phone or in paper form, must have your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered (or a single dose in case of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

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TRAVEL NEWS

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

In early May, German transport provider Flixtrain announced it would begin running services from Basel to Berlin (and back) from June. Here’s what you need to know.

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain's Basel to Berlin line

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

When will the services run?

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday, with one connection per day in either direction. 

It will take 8 hours and 45 minutes from Basel Badischer Bahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 

A trip with the German ICE will instead take just over 7 hours. 

The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

OK but will it really cost CHF10?

The price of the ticket grabbed headlines, with Flixtrain saying in its press conference that the almost-nine-hour trip would only cost CHF10 (10 euro). 

Flixtrain spokesperson Sebastian Meyer told Swiss news outlet Watson that tickets would start at CHF10, but more expensive tickets would be available when the CHF10 offerings were sold out. 

“If the cheapest ticket contingent is sold out, the next higher one takes effect. In this way, we can always offer our passengers cheap tickets. Affordable prices are still possible due to the corresponding utilisation of the individual trips.”

In order to get the cheapest possible fare, travellers are advised to book early. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively, although booking in advance can bring the price down to as low as CHF30. 

Where will the train to (and from) Berlin stop?

In either direction, the train will stop at: Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freiburg, Wiesloch, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein. 

What else is different about Flixtrain?

Other than being bright lime green, Flixtrains allow you to take your bicycle with you, which is not allowed on most ICE long-distance trains in Germany. 

Are there any other destinations within Switzerland? 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

More information is available from Flixtrain at the following link. 

The expanded routes can be seen in the following image. 

A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain

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