Switzerland set to delay Covid certificate expansion: reports

According to Swiss media, the Swiss government’s plan to require Covid certificates in restaurants, gyms and private parties will be delayed by at least a week.

Switzerland set to delay Covid certificate expansion: reports
Swiss health minister Alain Berset. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss authorities are meeting on Wednesday to discuss expanding the country’s Covid certificate. 

Under the plan, the certificate – which shows if you’ve been vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative to the virus – would be required in indoor areas of bars, clubs, gyms and at private parties. 

After putting the plan out for consultation with the cantons last week, the plan was set to be approved at a meeting on Wednesday, September 1st. 

While the plan won widespread support from the cantons, the delay is due to fewer hospitalisations. 

READ MORE: Switzerland proposes Covid certificates indoors in bars, restaurants and gyms

Under the proposal, the Covid certificate was to be imposed if the pandemic worsened. 

In considering whether things were indeed getting worse, the government indicated that availability of hospital beds would be the key indicator, rather than case numbers alone. 

Swiss newspaper Blick reported that the plan was likely to be approved in a week’s time, when the government and experts meet on September 8th. 

While the plan might be on hold for now, the government has indicated it “reserves the right” to put it in place should the situation worsen. 

As The Local Switzerland reported yesterday, all but a handful of cantons were in favour of the measures being expanded. 

Bars, restaurants and events: Which Swiss cantons want stricter Covid certificate rules?

In fact, only five cantons have publicly expressed reservations about tightening: Nidwalden, Obwalden, Lucerne, Neuchatel and Zug. 

Along with winning widespread support from cantonal authorities, the plan also won a majority of support in a reader poll conducted by The Local this week. 

The poll asked a simple yes or no question about whether people supported the plan to extend the certificate or not. 

66.5 percent said they agreed with the expansion, while 29.7 percent said they did not. 

3.8 percent of respondents told us they were not sure how they felt about the issue. 

‘Not being vaccinated should have consequences’: The verdict on Switzerland’s Covid certificate plan

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Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs.