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Reader question: Can I get a Covid certificate in Switzerland if I was vaccinated with AstraZeneca?

Switzerland has not approved the AstraZeneca vaccine and is not administering it domestically. What does this mean for people who got the jab?

Reader question: Can I get a Covid certificate in Switzerland if I was vaccinated with AstraZeneca?
The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

PLEASE NOTE: From Monday, September 20th, Switzerland will change the entry rules, allowing those vaccinated with AstraZeneca to get a Covid certificate. Read here for more

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

While Johnson and Johnson is also approved, it is not administered in Switzerland. 

Despite not being approved in Switzerland, AstraZeneca is one of the world’s most common Covid-19 vaccine. 

Early on in the pandemic, Switzerland agreed to buy several million doses of the vaccine, but did not approve the vaccine for use. 

Eventually, Switzerland donated its doses abroad in June, seemingly foregoing the possibility of approving the AstraZeneca jab at any point in the future. 

What does Switzerland’s AstraZeneca policy mean for travellers and the Covid certificate? 

Obviously, if you have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca you have not been vaccinated in Switzerland. 

But if you want to enter Switzerland, will AstraZeneca be enough? 

Here it is important to distinguish between entering Switzerland and the Covid certificate. 

Switzerland’s Covid certificate can be used to enter Switzerland, but it is not a requirement. 

Several vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland, including AstraZeneca. 

Here you can simply show proof of vaccination in paper or app form at the border. 

More information is available in the following link. 

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?

The rules however have been different for the Covid certificate. 

Which vaccines are accepted for Switzerland’s Covid certificate?

If you do not come from Switzerland you can still get a Swiss Covid certificate. 

To do this, you need to present evidence of being vaccinated in your home country. 

To do so, you will need to contact the authorities in the Swiss canton you are in with proof of vaccination. You can find out how to do that here. 

UPDATED: A step-by-step guide to getting the Swiss Covid certificate

You should have an official proof of vaccination from the country in which you were vaccinated, which includes your name, date of birth, the name of the vaccine, batch numbers, and dates of first and second vaccination.

Prior to September 20th, 2021, in order to get this, you needed to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine which is authorised in Switzerland. 

According to the Swiss government, this was only Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, not AstraZeneca as the Swiss government outlined here 

However, from September 20th, anyone vaccinated with AstraZeneca – along with Sinopharm and Sinovac and any other vaccines with emergency use authorisation – can get the Swiss Covid certificate

So if I have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca I can get the Covid Certificate in Switzerland?

Yes. Guidelines for how to apply for the Swiss Covid certificate after being vaccinated with AstraZeneca are available at the following link. 

Please note that mixed vaccinations are also accepted. 

If you have been vaccinated with one dose of AstraZeneca and one of either Moderna or Biontech Pfizer, you will be able to get the Covid certificate in Switzerland. 

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

More information is available at the official link here. 

Please note: This report was updated to reflect changes in the government’s policy on accepting foreign vaccines. 

Member comments

  1. What are the reasons for not excepting Astra jab?Not enough to ban one has to give valid reasons otherwise it does not pass the smell test.

  2. If you have been vaccinated with AstraZenica outside of Switzerland, I note that you can get the Covid App if you test negative. Does that give you the app for a period? Or just one event?

    I’m curious, as I read that ski resorts are considering requiring the app before you access the mountain railways.

    Hopefully a daily test will not be a requirement.

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For members


Reader question: When will Switzerland authorise second Covid booster shots?

Even as other countries have started to administer fourth doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and the infections are on the rise again, Swiss health authorities still haven’t rolled out second boosters. This is why, and what lies ahead.

Reader question: When will Switzerland authorise second Covid booster shots?

As The Local reported on Tuesday, coronavirus is circulating again in Switzerland and rates of contamination are expected to soar in the coming weeks.

In fact, over a million people in Switzerland could catch the virus this summer.

 “More than 80,000 new contaminations per week” are expected in the next two months, according to Tanja Stadler, the former head of the Covid-19 Task Force — much more than during the past two summers, when the rate of infections slowed down.

READ MORE: ‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) indicates that the upward trend is already underway. The number of new reported cases has been soaring in the past few weeks — from below 10,000 a week in mid-April and beginning of May, to 24,704 new cases in the past seven days.

These are officially registered contaminations, but as “most of infected people will not be tested, the number of confirmed cases will be smaller on paper than in reality”, Stadler pointed out.

Although nearly all cases in Switzerland (99 percent) are caused by Omicron and its sub-variants, which are more contagious but less severe that the original Covid viruses, “more vulnerable people are likely to end up in hospital, and long Covid cases are also likely to rise”, she said.

What is FOPH’s official stance on second boosters?

Health authorities are currently recommending them only for people in high-risk categories — that is, those with a very weak immune system.

“There is no need for the general public to receive an additional booster vaccination in the current situation. According to available data, people who are fully vaccinated or vaccinated and cured are still well protected against severe forms of COVID-19”, FOPH said on May 23rd.

There has been no change in strategy since then, despite the increasing infection rates.

However, authorities relented on one point: they now allow fourth doses to be administered to people whose Covid certificates have expired but who plan to travel to countries where up-to-date immunisations are required.

FOPH said these travellers can get “off-label” shots — meaning being vaccinated before the official authorisation to do so is issued — but these doses will not be free of charge.

“The price will be set by the cantons and the vaccination centres”, FOPH said, adding, however, that “second boosters for people with weakened immune systems will remain free”.

Why are Swiss health authorities dragging their feet in authorising second boosters?

As with the original vaccine rollout at the beginning of 2021, which took longer here than elsewhere, Swiss slowness may be due to the abundance of caution. For instance, drugs regulator Swissmedic “took longer than many countries to approve new vaccines”.

This time around, FOPH is taking its time to examine benefits of second boosters for general population (as opposed to at-risk groups).

Part of it may be the uncertainty prevailing over the efficacy of vaccines, which were conceived to combat the original early strains like Delta, not the variants, and sub-variants, that emerged later.

“The current vaccine does not provide clear protection against the Omicron”, according to Giuseppe Pantaleo, head of the immunology unit at Vaud university hospital (CHUV).

So when will Switzerland authorise second boosters?

Health officials said they will issue official recommendations “before the summer holidays”, which means shortly.

Two scenarios are currently  foreseen by FOPH: “It may be that an additional booster vaccination is recommended only for people over 65 and those suffering from certain chronic diseases, but it is also possible that it will be intended for the entire population”.

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