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Jab nightclubs and vaccine trams: How Swiss cities innovate to get people vaccinated

Jab nightclubs and vaccine trams: How Swiss cities innovate to get people vaccinated
Teens will be vaccinated in Lausanne's Flon district. JEFF J MITCHELL / AFP
Faced with a relatively low immunisation rate and increasing number of hospitalisations, health authorities are finding new ways to encourage people to get their shots.

Switzerland’s vaccination rate is lagging behind many other European nations — about 51 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, compared to over 57 percent across the EU.

There are several reasons for this vaccine hesitancy, ranging from skepticism to belief in freedom of choice.

Meanwhile, the number of cases is high, and the occupancy of intensive care units in Swiss hospitals is increasing.

READ MORE: Covid-19 vaccines: Why is Switzerland lagging behind other EU countries

To reverse this trend, two Swiss cities, Zurich and Lausanne, have found unusual ways to get get more residents to roll up their sleeves.

This is what they came up with:

Zurich: get a jab in a tram

As part of its inoculation campaign, Switzerland’s largest city will give jabs in a tramway, on a line usually taken by a train collecting bulky waste in the city.

This time, it will collect people wanting to get vaccinated.

From mid-September, “the Zurich Impfttram will start operating on the cargo tram line”, the city said in a statement, also announcing the expansion “of the capacity of several vaccination centres and the pharmacy network”.

Authorities hope that the  tram will put the slacking immunisation rate on the right track.

Shots will be given in a Zurich tram, similar to this one. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Authorities in Zurich had previously launched a vaccination bus, following the lead of neighbouring Schwyz and Schaffhausen. 

Lausanne: a shot while you party

Vaud’s capital city wants to encourage those between the ages of 18 and 30 to get vaccinated.

That’s because latest data shows people in this age group become infected more often than their seniors.

To do so, health officials are going to where the young people usually congregate: clubs and other nightlife venues.

Vaccination mobile unit will be set up from Thursday September 2nd to Saturday September 4th from 4 pm to 11 pm in the city’s trendy Flon district, one of the favourite hangouts of young people.

In both cities, no appointments will be needed, all walk-ins will be welcome.

READ MORE: Covid spreads among Switzerland’s youth as vaccination impact becomes clearer


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